Italy will not ratify the EU’s free trade agreement with Canada, the Italian deputy prime minister has said, potentially scuppering the bloc’s biggest deal in years. “Soon CETA [Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement] will arrive in parliament and this majority will reject it and it will not ratify it,” Luigi Di Maio said at a farmers’ association gathering in Rome on Friday. “If so much as one Italian official … continues to defend treaties like CETA, they will be removed,” added Di Maio, who leads the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, which governs with the rightwing League. The CETA accord, the first major trade agreement the EU has signed since a deal with South Korea was ratified in 2015, needs to be approved by all 28 EU member states to take full effect. The M5S/League government, which took office on 1 June, has pledged to take a hard line to defend Italian speciality foods. The agriculture minister,Gian Marco Centinaio, attacked CETA in a newspaper interview last month. Italy has the most food products with protected designation of origin and protected geographical indication labels in the EU. These include Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and Prosciutto di Parma ham. Under CETA, Canada has recognised more… Read full this story
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