MEPs backed the deal by 408 votes to 254 amid a frenzy of protests and cries of opposition at the European Union plenary session in Strasbourg today (Wednesday 15 February).

The deal was not resoundingly endorsed by the European Union parliament, with 58 percent of its members supporting CETA after a boisterous debate that saw tempers flare repeatedly.

The parliament's vote is a major part of the legislative process, and the proposals will now require the support of a majority of EU member states in the EU Council to pass into law.

Once viewed as the precursor of the much-touted EU-U.S. plan for a Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, CETA now looks like a smaller substitute for TTIP as European officials expect Trump to put it in the "freezer".

Because CETA was declared a mixed agreement by the European Commission in July 2016, it will also need to be ratified by national and regional parliaments.

"The EU and Canada recognise in both the preamble to the deal and an attached joint declaration that its provisions apply without prejudice to the domestic right to regulate", says a release.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will arrive in Europe tomorrow with free trade at the top of his agenda.

The EU has held steady as a preferred trade partner among Canadians, second only to the United States.

Patrick Verhoeven, Secretary General of ECSA comments: "We are pleased CETA will bring legal certainty and a clear legal framework, especially given today's context of rising protectionism".

The deal was put in jeopardy after the Wallonian region refused to agree to the terms, anxious that cheaper goods from Canada would hurt the farming and labor sectors, as well as lessen environmental and consumer standards.

The deal, which has been five years in the making, was approved with 408 MEPs voting in favour, and 254 against. EU-Canada trade in goods was 63.5 billion euros in 2015, while services commerce totaled 27.2 billion euros in 2014.

Unlike classic trade deals, Ceta harmonises regulations on matters such as health and the environment.

The deal also includes the creation of an independent Investment Court System (ICS), which would publicly arbitrate on investment disputes, but have no right to adjudicate on matters of domestic policy.


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