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EU-Canada Trade Pact Could be Bellwether for Trade in Light of US Protectionism

The trade agreement between Canada and the European Union has taken another step forward, having been approved by the Canadian Senate and the European Parliament, and provisional application of the deal could start as soon as July 1, 2017. But more than that, some are looking to the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) as an example of an agreement that will ensure greater economic growth for more people—which runs counter to the isolationism some nations feel is coming from Washington.

President Trump may have agreed to a pledge to fight protectionism at the recent G7 Summit in Italy, but his commentary about Germany and what he’s dubbed unfair trade practices that followed appears to be driving a rift between U.S. and Germany relations—and putting others in the EU on guard about how to move forward in trade.

Trump called Germany out on Twitter for its failure to pay its share to NATO (he also called Canada—and nearly all of NATO’s 28 members—out for the same thing at last week’s NATO summit in Brussels) and levied a not-so-veiled threat, saying Germany’s actions are “very bad” for the U.S. and that things “will change.”

German chancellor Angela Merkel said this weekend that Europe will have to take its fate into its own hands.

Trying to navigate the delicate balance between loyalty to the U.S. and Europe, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he’s committed to working with both for the good of all Canadians.

“We will always work together and highlight the shared values that are equally important on both sides of the Atlantic, including in the United States,” Canada’s CTV News reported Trudeau as saying to reporters in Italy.

Though it will likely be a divergence from Trump, Trudeau said he will continue to fight for liberalized trade and climate change in the face of shifts brought about by technology and globalization, as both are good for economic growth.

“Leaders who think we can hide from these changes, or turn back the clock, are wrong,” CTV reported Trudeau as saying.