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German lawmakers greenlight EU-Canada free trade agreement

December 1, 2022

The trade deal will cut most tariffs between the European Union and Canada, but it still faces stiff opposition from several European countries.

Containers sitting in the port of Hamburg, as seen from above, in a range of colors
Germany's highest court in March threw out complaints against CETA and paved the way for the Bundestag voteImage: Daniel Reinhardt/dpa/picture alliance

German lawmakers on Thursday backed the ratification of the European Union's free trade agreement with Canada.

The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) has been provisionally applied since 2017, but can only become fully in force after all 27 EU member states have ratified it.

Italy and France are among several member states that have yet to ratify the agreement. Canada has already ratified it.  

The deal eliminates almost all customs duties and increases quotas for certain key products in Canada and the EU's respective markets.

Germany crossed hurdles before approving CETA

Germany's highest court in March threw out complaints against CETA.

It cleared the way for German Chancellor Olaf Scholz's three-party coalition to ratify the agreement. Lawmakers voted 559-110 to approve the pact.

Canada's diplomatic mission in Berlin hailed the German Bundestag's decision to ratify the deal, saying it is a step closer to a "progressive, inclusive and modern" free trade agreement.


Parliamentarians in Europe's biggest economy were confident the remaining 11 EU countries that still have to ratify CETA would follow suit.

"We are optimistic, now that we are moving forward, that others will also follow very quickly," said Verena Hubertz, of the center-left Social Democrats.

Not all EU countries in favor of CETA

Most of the treaty's rules already have been provisionally applied across the EU since September 2017.

But the unilateral agreement in the block was not certain.

Earlier in November, the Irish Supreme Court ruled Ireland's parliamentary efforts to ratify the EU-Canada trade deal are unconstitutional.

The deal also faces stiff opposition in countries like the Netherlands and Italy.

lo/jcg (AP, dpa, Reuters)