Italy will reject Canada’s trade deal says deputy PM

Italy will not sign the EU’s Free Trade Agreement with Canada says Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio.

Italy’s refusal to ratify the deal will potentially completely wreck EU’s biggest accord in years.

“Soon CETA [the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement] will arrive in parliament and this majority will reject it and it will not ratify it,” Di Maio said at a farmers’ association gathering in Rome.

“If so much as one Italian official … continues to defend treaties like CETA, they will be removed,” added leader of Five-Star Movement and Deputy PM Di Maio

Of the 28 European Union countries, Italy has the most food products with PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) and PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) labels.

The CETA treaty entered into force on a provisional basis in September 2017, sweeping away tariffs on a large number of goods and widening access to Canadian beef in Europe and EU cheese and wine in Canada.

Its supporters say it would increase trade between the partners by 20 percent and boost the EU economy by 12 billion euros ($13.96 billion) a year and Canada’s by C$12 billion ($9.10 billion).

Coldiretti, the association of Italian agricultural companies Di Maio was addressing, has called CETA “wrong and risky” for Italy. It says Italian food exports, equal to 41 billion euros last year, could triple with a serious fight against international food counterfeiting.