CETA Package Faces Tough Path Forward

The Vigorous, first ocean-going vessel to reach the Port of Montreal without a stopover in 2016.
The Vigorous, first ocean-going vessel to reach the Port of Montreal without a stopover in 2016.

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Belgian negotiators failed on Tuesday to break a deadlock between federal and regional authorities that is blocking a free trade deal between the European Union and Canada and will resume early on Wednesday, Foreign Minister Didier Reynders said.

Reynders, who handles trade for the federal government, said six hours of talks with regional leaders, including that of Wallonia which has vetoed federal support for the CETA pact, had made some progress and the negotiators would try to finalise on Wednesday a common Belgian position to put to EU officials.

Talks resume at 8 a.m. (0600 GMT). However, Reynders he said he could not say whether Belgium would be in a position to give its accord by Thursday, when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is supposed to arrive in Brussels to sign the pact. Trudeau’s trip may well be postponed if the Belgians cannot agree.

(Reporting by Alastair Macdonald; Editing by Alison Williams)