Italy’s new Minister of Agriculture Gian Marco Centinaio said Italy will not ratify a European Union (EU) trade agreement with Canada, sparking another battle between the new populist government and its European counterparts.
The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), the EU’s most comprehensive trade deal yet, does not ensure enough protection for Italy’s specialty foods, Centinaio said in a newspaper interview on Thursday, according to Reuters.
“We will not ratify the free-trade treaty with Canada because it protects only a small part of our PDO [Protected Designation of Origin] and PGI [Protected Geographical Indication] products,” Centinaio told Italian daily La Stampa.
Coldiretti, a large organization of Italian agricultural companies, backed Centinaio’s threat, saying in a statement that CETA is “wrong and risky” for Italy, Reuters reported.
Italy’s comments toward trade reflect the country’s recent nationalistic wave after electing a new populist government, controlled by the anti-immigrant League party and anti-establishment Five Star Movement.
The European Commission is working hard to make sure the deal is mutually beneficial for all 28 members, according to spokesman Margaritis Schinas.
Centinaio’s objection to the trade agreement with Canada comes just weeks after the U.S. pulled out of a joint communique at the G7 Summit in Canada and days after Italy caused another international dispute by refusing the acceptance of a stranded migrant boat in the Mediterranean. (RELATED: Italy Demands Apology From Macron While Ripping Soros On Migrant Hypocrisy)
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