In this file:


·         French government approves Canada trade deal

·         France ‘not ready’ to ratify Mercosur trade deal



French government approves Canada trade deal


Agence France-Presse

via Business Recorder - Jul 4th, 2019


The French government on Wednesday officially approved a huge EU-Canada trade deal in the midst of a heated debate over an ever bigger agreement with South America. Junior foreign minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne told reporters that the cabinet had approved a bill ratifying the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which will be put to a vote in parliament next month.


Lemoyne said the deal had been "very positive" for France since being provisionally adopted two years ago. He said French exports to Canada had increased by 6.6 percent in 2017 and 2018, whereas Canadian exports to France had fallen by 6.0 percent, widening France's trade surplus with the North American country.


The CETA has been ratified by the European Parliament, but must also be approved by each of the member states of the European Union to become permanent. Several EU members have yet to ratify it, including Germany and Italy. The pact removes tariffs on nearly all goods and services between Canada and Europe, which the EU says eliminates 590 million euros ($890 million Canadian/$665 million) in customs duties each year.


The vote in the French parliament risks being overshadowed by the debate raging over the mammoth trade deal agreed last week by the EU and four South American countries - Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.


European farmers and environmentalists are up in arms over the deal - the biggest ever struck by the EU. Small-scale beef farmers have warned of unfair competition from Brazil's commercial feedlots, while climate activists have warned that the deal will harm Brazil's rainforests and indigenous peoples...





France ‘not ready’ to ratify Mercosur trade deal


by Clare BYRNE and Maria-Elena BUCHELI, Agence France-Presse

via Macau Business - Jul 3, 2019


France said Tuesday it was “not ready” to ratify a huge trade deal agreed by the European Union and four South American countries, as farmers and environmentalists step up their resistance to the accord.


The deal announced Friday by the EU and Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay is the largest ever struck by the European Union.


It covers markets that total approximately 780 million consumers representing a quarter of global GDP.


But while President Emmanuel Macron initially called it a “good” deal, government spokeswoman Sibeth Ndiaye said France would not be rushing to ratify it before seeing all the details.


Citing the 2017 EU-Canada trade deal, which France has yet to ratify, she told the BFM news channel: “We will do the same thing with the Mercosur countries… We will look at it in detail and depending on the details we will decide.


“France is not yet ready to ratify (the deal),” she said.


The EU and Mercosur countries hailed the deal, which was 20 years in the making, as historic.


European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker billed it as a rousing endorsement of “rules-based trade” at a time of growing protectionism in the US, which is embroiled in a trade war with China and disputes with the EU.


But the road to ratification by all 28 EU members could be a long one given the growing public hostility to free trade deals, even in traditionally trade-friendly countries.


“There are significant obstacles,” the vice-president of the Institut des Ameriques research group in Paris, Carlos Quenan, told AFP.


The note of caution sounded by France Tuesday “is the first step in a sort of battle of wills over the concrete implementation of the deal.”


The Bruegel institute, a Brussels-based economic think tank, in an August 2018 paper noted a growing fear of openness to international trade, blamed for increasing inequality.


It cited a poll showing 75 percent of the French and 57 percent of Germans favouring greater protection against foreign competition.


“The question is not whether this deal is interesting in trade terms only. We must ensure that it respects the goals we have set ourselves in terms of sustainable farming practises and fighting climate change,” Sebastien Jean, director of France’s CEPII centre for economic research, told AFP.


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