Canada Italy won't ratify EU free-trade deal with Canada, says new farm minister

18:24  14 june  2018
18:24  14 june  2018 Source:   cbc.ca

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OTTAWA — Britain has assured Canada it will push for speedy ratification of the mammoth free trade deal with the European Union , despite its intention to leave the 28-country bloc, says International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland.

International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland says trade deal with the EU will move ahead.

a person standing in front of a barrel: Quality control employee Fabrizio Giberti inspects a Parmigiano Reggiano Parmesan cheese wheel amongst those stacked in the Credito Emiliano bank temperature-controlled vault, in Montecavolo, near Reggio Emilia, Italy, Thursday Aug. 20, 2009. In the 28-member European Union, Italy has the most food products with PDO and PGI labels, including Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and Prosciutto di Parma ham.© The Associated Press Quality control employee Fabrizio Giberti inspects a Parmigiano Reggiano Parmesan cheese wheel amongst those stacked in the Credito Emiliano bank temperature-controlled vault, in Montecavolo, near Reggio Emilia, Italy, Thursday Aug. 20, 2009. In the 28-member European Union, Italy has the most food products with PDO and PGI labels, including Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and Prosciutto di Parma ham.

Italy will not ratify the European Union's free trade agreement with Canada, its new agriculture minister said on Thursday, ratcheting up an international trade spat and potentially scuppering the EU's biggest accord in years.

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OTTAWA—Britain has assured Canada it will push for speedy ratification of the mammoth free trade deal with the European Union , despite its intention to leave the 28-country bloc, says International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland.

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The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is the first major trade deal the European Union has signed since it began implementing its South Korea agreement in 2011.

All 28 EU member states must approve the agreement for it to take full effect.

In an interview with daily La Stampa, Minister Gian Marco Centinaio said the Italian government would ask the parliament not to ratify the treaty since it does not ensure sufficient protection for the country's speciality foods.

"We will not ratify the free-trade treaty with Canada because it protects only a small part of our PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) and PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) products," Centinaio told the newspaper.

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He said he believed that a UK/ EU free trade deal could be agreed within the two-year transition, but said it would have to be ratified by more than 35 national and regional parliaments across the EU 27, each of which holds a veto.

Latvia became the first EU country to ratify the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with Canada on Feb. In urging MPs to support CETA, which has attracted staunch opposition in parts of Europe and Canada , Rinkēvičs said the deal will facilitate Latvia’s exports to Canada , open new

"Doubts over this agreement are shared by many of my European colleagues." In the 28-member European Union, Italy has the most food products with PDO and PGI labels, including Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and Prosciutto di Parma ham.

Under CETA, Canada has recognised more than 40 Italian PDO and PGI labels out of a total of 292 for the food-obsessed country.

Coldiretti, the influential association of Italian agricultural companies, backed Centinaio's intention, saying in a statement CETA was "wrong and risky" for Italy.

It said Italian food exports, equal to 41 billion euros last year, could triple with a serious fight against international food counterfeiting. The treaty did enter in force on a provisional basis in September 2017, sweeping away tariffs on a large number of goods and widening access to Canadian beef in Europe and EU cheese and wine in Canada.

Sid Melton et al. posing for the camera: Italy's Minister of Agriculture Gian Marco Centinaio is seen during the sworn-in ceremony at the Quirinal palace in Rome, Italy, June 1, 2018.© Tony Gentile/Reuters Italy's Minister of Agriculture Gian Marco Centinaio is seen during the sworn-in ceremony at the Quirinal palace in Rome, Italy, June 1, 2018.

Its supporters say it would increase trade between the partners by 20 percent and boost the EU economy by 12 billion euros ($14 billion) a year and Canada's by $12 billion.

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“We will not ratify the free - trade treaty with Canada . Doubts about this deal are common among many of my European colleagues,” Centinaio said in remarks published in Thursday’s issue of the newspaper La Stampa. The minister also complained that the

Britain has assured Canada it will push for speedy ratification of the mammoth free trade deal with the European Union , despite its intention to leave the 28-country bloc, says International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland.

Italy's threat comes amidst trade war with Trump

Some farm associations and critics in European states have expressed concerns about the threat of rapidly rising pork and beef imports from Canada.

Coldiretti also mentioned risks posed by the annulment of duties on Canadian wheat, a country where the herbicide glyphosate can be used.

Centinaio belongs to the far-right League party and is considered close to its leader and Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini. Salvini is emerging as the pivot in the new government that the League formed this month with the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement.

The minister was not immediately available to comment on the interview and it was not possible to get a reaction from the office of the prime minister on the issue.

Asked about Italy's position on CETA, the European Commission said it was working closely with EU members to ensure that the EU trade accords were mutually beneficial.

The government programme that forms the basis of the League-5-Star coalition mentioned CETA, saying the executive would oppose "the aspects [of the treaty] that imply an excessive weakening of the protection of citizens' rights."

The government's programme also pledged to "protect the highest-quality products of Made in Italy."

Italy's challenge to CETA comes after U.S. President Donald Trump backed out of a joint communique agreed by Group of Seven leaders in Canada at the weekend that mentioned the need for "free, fair and mutually beneficial" trade and the importance of fighting protectionism.

The United States has imposed tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union and is weighing up the possibility of slapping additional duties on automobile imports. Trump says his tariffs are meant to protect U.S. industry and workers from unfair international competition as part of his "America First" agenda.

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