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European farmers reject CETA

Reporter: Kevin Ozebek 丨 CCTV.com

10-18-2016 15:05 BJT

Politicians in Belgium are threatening to block the proposed trade deal between the European Union and Canada known as CETA. EU trade ministers are to decide on Ceta on Tuesday. If they all approve it, the deal can be signed with Canada on 27 October. Our Europe Correspondent Kevin Ozebek reports from Amel, Belgium where there is fierce opposition to CETA.

As Erwin Schöpges tends to his cows and cattle—his pasture is now at the center of a political fight. He lives in Wallonia—the southern region of Belgium.And because of petitions from farmers like Schöpges, the Parliament that governs over these rolling hills has passed a resolution signaling it won’t ratify CETA.

“They have the responsibility to protect the citizens.  They have the responsibility to protect the land.  They’re there to make policies for the people of this area,” said Edwin Schopges, farmer.      

Schöpges says CETA will lower health and safety standards for food in Europe.There’s also concerns areas like Wallonia will be flooded with cheaper Canadian products.

In most parts of rural Europe there’s little support for CETA, but that doesn’t mean farmers are the only ones fighting against this proposed trade deal.

Protests against CETA and other proposed trade deals have overtaken cities like Brussels and Berlin.Thousands in Germany petitioned a court to rule CETA as undemocratic.That lawsuit has been thrown out.But with much of the European public against CETA—pro trade activists worry regional Parliaments like the one in Wallonia will crush the deal.

“We’re talking about one region that can block an agreement that brings benefit to 500 million consumers.  So it is of course a worrying trend,” said Luisa Santos, Business Europe.

Business groups estimate the increase in trade from CETA will pump in 13 billion US dollars into the European economy every year. Though that still doesn’t change the minds of CETA critics.

“It would be a big success for us if food products would be removed from these trade deals.  However I’m not only a farmer--I’m also a consumer, a father and I think it’s very dangerous for the next generation,” Edwin Schopges said.

As far as Schopges is concerned—the only ones who will win from more trade are the big businesses.

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