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EU parliament chief, Canada minister in bid to save trade deal

ceta

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM: EU parliament head Martin Schulz and Canada’s trade minister Chrystia Freeland were meeting Saturday, saying they hoped to revive a trade deal threatened by the refusal of a Belgian region to sign on.

Schulz wrote on Twitter he would also meet with Wallonia’s socialist government head Paul Magnette, who has moved to stop the bloc’s 28 nations from signing the accord.

The meetings in Brussels are aimed at “reviving CETA talks. We can’t stop at the last mile,” Schulz wrote, referring to the agreement’s name.

On arriving at the parliament building, Freeland said: “The ball is in Europe’s court. We hope that it is possible to find a solution,” according to the Belga news agency.

Canada blasted the European Union on Friday as incapable of signing international agreements, as the talks to persuade Wallonia to sign up to the huge trade deal broke down.

Freeland appeared on the verge of tears after walking out of negotiations with the head of the French-speaking Belgian region on the deal that has been seven years in the making.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had planned to travel to Brussels next week to sign the deal but that visit looks almost certain to be called off.

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