The Ceta deal was signed in Brussels by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and top EU officials. The signing ceremony initially planned for Thursday had been cancelled after Belgium’s Wallonia region vetoed the agreement. All 28 EU states approved the deal on Friday when consensus was reached.
The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, known as Ceta, required all EU member states to endorse it. The deal removes 99% of tariffs – and officials hope it will generate an increase in trade worth $12bn (€10.9bn; £9.8bn) a year.
The deal was due to be signed at 11:00 local time (10:00 GMT), but was postponed after Mr Trudeau’s plane had to turn back to Ottawa airport after experiencing “mechanical issues” shortly after take-off.
After the agreement was finally signed several hours later, Mr Trudeau said: “Canadians and Europeans share the understanding that in order for real and meaningful economic growth, we need to create more good, well-paying jobs for our citizens.
“Progressive trade agreements like the one signed today, will do just that.”
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker referred to “a new chapter” in relations between the EU and Canada, which would open new opportunities “more than half-a-billion people on both sides of the Atlantic”.
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