Prague, July 11 (CTK) – The Czech Chamber of Deputies supported the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) that removes most duties and fees between the EU and Canada in the first reading on Tuesday.
Thanks to the removal, Czech businesspeople may have easier access to the Canadian market.
The Senate approved it in April and the European Parliament in February.
The Chamber of Deputies may vote on the ratification of CETA at its September session.
Reservations were voiced by the Communists (KSCM) who argued that the deal was not in the Czech Republic’s interest.
Experts say CETA may increase the trade between the EU and Canada by up to one-fifth.
The EU estimates that its application will increase the trade by the equivalent of up to 324 billion crowns a year, encourage economic growth and create new jobs.
Critics say it may jeopardise thousands of jobs, which is denied by EU experts who refer to a number of independent studies.
The government said the final form of the deal reflected Czech priorities as much as possible.
After transitional periods expire, industrial commodities will be exported duty-free and Canada will remove up to 94 percent of customs in agricultural and food commodities.
The deal is to start working provisionally on September 21. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Tuesday he had agreed on the date with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.