STRASBOURG, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) -- The European Parliament (EP), meeting Wednesday for its plenary in Strasbourg, has voted its approval on the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which aims to increase trade and investment flows between the two parties.
Approved by 408 votes in favor to 254 against, with 33 abstentions, the extensive trade deal would unlock commerce between the European Union (EU) and Canada by removing tariffs on most goods and services, while also opening up Canada's public procurement market.
"By adopting CETA, we chose openness and growth and high standards over protectionism and stagnation," declared the European Parliament's CETA rapporteur Artis Pabriks, a member of the EP for Latvia, after Wednesday's vote.
"Canada is a country with whom we share common values and an ally we can rely on. Together we can build bridges, instead of a wall, for the prosperity of our citizens. CETA will be a lighthouse for future trade deals all over the world," said Pabriks.
Certain exceptions and protections have been put in place, including the recognition of over 140 European geographical indications for food and drinks sold on the Canadian market. Tariff barriers will also remain in place in the fields of public services, audiovisual and transport services, and a few agricultural products, such as dairy, poultry and eggs.
CETA negotiations were first launched in May 2009 and concluded in September 2014.