CETA will come into provisional force once it has also been ratified on the Canadian side

CETA will come into provisional force once it has also been ratified on the Canadian side

The European Union's controversial free trade agreement with Canada has been approved by the European Parliament, in a move that means the deal could apply provisionally from April 2017.

EU lawmakers on Wednesday (15 February) voted by 408-254 in favour of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada – despite widespread protests across the continent and a petition against its ratification signed by over 3.2m people.

The vote means CETA will come into provisional force once it has also been ratified on the Canadian side, at which point agreements on cutting tariffs and easing or removing import quotas will be implemented.

This means it will remove non-tariff barriers and provide zero duties for textile and clothing products from the first day of entry into force. For the European textile sector this will mean an end to the duties of up to 18% currently imposed by Canada.

However, some controversial elements such as investment protection, will not apply until all EU member states have ratified the deal nationally.

When the CETA was agreed two years ago, just-style was told it had the potential to increase the EU's garment exports to Canada by more than 91%.

But the Brussels-based European Apparel and Textile Confederation (Euratex) has expressed concerns that for 15 clothing products, certain safeguards defining when a product can be deemed made in the EU or Canada have been weakened.

Clothing concerns raised over EU-Canada trade pact