Washington (AFP) – Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland on Thursday downplayed Italy’s refusal to ratify the European Union-Canada free trade deal, saying that eventually all parties will approve it.
“I’m confident we will have full ratification in the end,” Freeland said of the deal, known formally as the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement.
Freeland noted that the accord had provisionally come into force last September. “Nearly 100 percent of the real economic impact and benefit of CETA is already being felt by Canadians, and by Europeans,” she said.
Freeland also mentioned having had “a good conversation about CETA” with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte at last weekend’s G7 summit in the Canadian province of Quebec.
The Canadian minister was in Washington this week pressing lawmakers and officials in a bid to salvage a continental trade pact with the United States and Mexico, and to try to convince the administration of President Donald Trump to repeal punishing steel and aluminum tariffs.
Earlier Italy’s new minister of agriculture, Gian Marco Centinaio, in an interview published in the daily La Stampa said his country would not ratify CETA because it doesn’t protect Italy’s world-famous produce.