Cyprus blocks EU-Canada trade deal because of Halloumi

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There is a new hurdle for the CETA economic agreement between the EU and Canada – this time from Cyprus. The country is concerned about the sale of agricultural products.

Nicosia (dpa) – The new European-Canadian economic and trade agreement (CETA) must overcome another hurdle. The parliament of the EU member Cyprus has not ratified the agreement. In a Friday vote, 37 MPs voted against and 18 voted for ratification of the agreement.

From the left-wing AKEL party and the socialists, Cypriot Halloumi cheese and other agricultural products from the island are not adequately protected, the state broadcaster (RIK) reported on Saturday.

The Comprehensive Trade Agreement between the EU and Canada (CETA) is designed to facilitate the export of goods and services and, according to Brussels, to bring benefits to consumers and businesses. It provisionally entered into force in September 2017, according to the EU, most of the agreement will therefore apply. The national – and in some cases also the regional – parliaments in the EU countries still have to approve CETA so that it becomes fully valid.

Halloumi cheese is one of the national dishes of Cyprus and is exported in large quantities. The left-wing parties also criticized the agreement because it believes it will strengthen multinational companies and lead smaller producers to disaster, the state broadcaster continued. The small party of the Greens complained that the agreement harmed the environment and promoted the production of genetically manipulated food.

Government officials said on Saturday that Nicosia would try to negotiate some exemptions for Cypriot products before the agreement is again submitted to the House of Representatives for approval. A government spokesman could not name a time for this.

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