Justin Trudeau takes aim at NDP over EU-Canada trade pact as summit wraps up

MONTREAL — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is calling out New Democrats after their leader encouraged French lawmakers to reject the comprehensive trade agreement between the European Union and Canada.

Jagmeet Singh, along with Green Leader Elizabeth May, signed a letter this week urging politicians in France not to ratify the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA.

As an EU-Canada summit wrapped up in Montreal Thursday, Trudeau asked who Canada should trade freely with if not its European allies and called the NDP stance “unfortunate.”

So far, fewer than half of the EU’s 28 member states have ratified CETA, which nonetheless went into force provisionally in September 2017, eliminating tariffs on the vast majority of goods flowing between Canada and the EU.

The benefits have been uneven, as European businesses ramped up exports right out of the gate while Canadian exporters were slower to boost trade.

In 2018, Canada’s exports to the EU increased by seven per cent to more than $44 billion, with aluminum and motor vehicles and parts seeing the biggest gains. But the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance says agri-food exports to the EU have dropped 10 per cent since CETA’s 2017 entry into force.

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