Dutch parliament supports trade agreement with Canada

Lilianne Ploumen (Photo: Rijksoverheid.nl/Wikimedia Commons)Lilianne Ploumen (Photo: Rijksoverheid.nl/Wikimedia Commons)

A majority of the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, supports a free trade agreement between the European Union and Canada (CETA),  ANP reports.

The Tweede Kamer discussed the treaty with Minister Lilianne Ploumen of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation on Wednesday. The final version of the agreement was sent to the Kamer on Tuesday. The treaty is to be signed at the EU-Canada Summit on October 27th. After that it still needs to be ratified by the EU Member States. A part of the treaty will take effect after the signing at the EU-Canada Summit.

The parliamentary majority supporting the treaty includes the VVD, D66 and PvdA. Though opposition parties SP and GroenLinks and a number of civil organizations are very much against it.

CETA opponents worry that the agreement will negatively affect European standards in fiels like animal welfare and food safety. Trade unions FNV and CNV, Greenpeace, the Consumentenbond and Milieudefensie, among others called on the Kamer to reject the treaty as CETA presents "a serious threat to the environment, public services, labor standards and the safety of consumers", according to the news wire.

The PvdA initially also criticized CETA, but now says that almost all their objections were met, NOS reports. According to the party, CETA is "economically very important" for the European market. "Also to be less dependent on countries like China and Russia, it is important now to conclude new treaties with friends like Canada", PvdA parliamentarian Jan Vos said.