LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) – German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel on Tuesday said he did not expect a planned free trade agreement between the European Union and Canada to fail, but said it could take some time to answer questions raised by Belgium and other countries.
“I don’t think the agreement can fail,” Gabriel told reporters before a meeting of EU trade ministers in Luxembourg. “But Belgium and Romania for example still have questions that perhaps can be answered today. Perhaps we will need a bit more time.”
All 28 EU governments now back the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which would be the bloc’s first trade accord with a G7 country.
But the French-speaking region in the south of Belgium opposes the deal, and the country’s peculiar governing structure means it cannot sign up without backing from all five sub-federal governments.