Newspaper article The Canadian Press

PM Trudeau and Irish Taoiseach Tout Benefits of CETA at Dublin Meetings

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

PM Trudeau and Irish Taoiseach Tout Benefits of CETA at Dublin Meetings

Article excerpt

Trudeau, Irish PM, praise CETA during meeting

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DUBLIN - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is leaning on Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar to help convince his European counterparts to give the go-ahead to the Canada-Europe free trade agreement.

The wide-ranging Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA, was settled last year after more than seven years of talks, but is in for a rocky ride as all 28 member nations of the European Union must now vote on it independently.

Everything from pharmaceuticals to Canadian cheese and protections for private foreign investors have called into question the certainty of whether CETA will be finalized or end up falling apart.

Canada and Ireland, however, both have governments that back the deal, and Trudeau is hoping a bit of pressure from the newly minted Irish leader might help sway some of his European counterparts to give it the green light.

"CETA will give Canadian and Irish businesses greater access to each other's markets; it will deliver stronger economic growth," said Trudeau.

"The kind that benefits all citizens. It will create more good, well-paying jobs on both sides of the Atlantic. Like Ireland, Canada is very much looking forward to the agreement coming into force."

Trudeau will meet some of the other CETA members later this week at the G20 meeting in Hamburg, but many of them are less decisive in their support, including both German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron.

Even getting CETA on the agenda at the G20 might be tough, given Merkel and Macron's focus on the Paris climate change accord, and other burgeoning issues like the first in-person meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

North Korea's latest missile test claims will also surely dominate much of the discussion.

Varadkar said a commitment to CETA is one of the many things he shares with Trudeau.

"We are both very committed to free trade as one of the best means to create good jobs for the middle class, the working class and also to make us all better off in the long run," he told a news conference with Trudeau following their meeting.

Canada is hoping the deal will help it diversify its economy beyond the United States, while Ireland wants it because it is tied at the hip economically with Britain, a country that's in the throes of a messy withdrawal from the EU. …

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