Status: Not Ratified

Belgium has a complex political system and the most institutional requirements in the EU to ratify CETA. The federal parliament (Chambre des représentants) and three regional parliaments (Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels) must approve the bill. The dispute on CETA in Belgium reflects the country’s division between its French-speaking (South) and Dutch-speaking (North) populace. Currently, the Federal Parliament and the regional Flanders parliament (2018) have approved CETA, but Wallonia and Brussels have not. Prime Minister Alexander De Croo and his party (Open Vld) support CETA ratification, but the Belgian federal government includes a broad coalition of various parties. Currently, the ratification process is stalled.

Public debate

Belgium Chamber of Representatives
Source: Le Soir

The N-VA, CD&V, Open Vld and the Liberal Reformist Party support the ratification of CETA. Critics include the Parti Socialiste (PS) and the Green Party. Public contestation of CETA in Belgium is highly intensive, with opponents focusing on Canadian agricultural practices and agricultural interests (beef industry), food safety, GMOs and pesticides, consumer rights, the investor-state dispute settlement provisions, and the potential impact on Belgium’s public services (especially health care). CSOs opposed to CETA include a variety of trade unions, environmental groups, and consumer advocacy groups, including Links Ecologisch Forum, FUGEA and Corporate Europe Observatory.

Trade data

In 2021, Belgium had a trade surplus in goods trade with Canada of €626 million (Eurostat). Moreover, imports from Canada were €3.63 billion, which is 2.2% of Belgium’s imports from outside the EU. Exports to Canada were €4.25 billion, 2.7% of Belgium’s extra-EU exports (Eurostat). Canada-Belgium bilateral goods trade (imports + exports) grew by €2.42 billion, or 60.4%, between 2016-2019 (Statistics Canada).


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Cerulus, L. (January 2017). “The Party that’s pulling the Belgian left to the left”. Politico. Link.
Centre of Constitutional Change. (October 2016). Belgian Federalism and CETA. Link.
Corporate Europe Observatory. (November 2016). “European and Canadian civil society groups call for rejection of CETA (November 2016)”. Link
Eschbach, A. The Ratification Process in EU Member States – A presentation with particular consideration of the TTIP and CETA free trade agreements. Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law. Link
Russell, A. (October 2016). “CETA: Here’s why a region of Belgium is blocking the Canada-EU trade deal.” Global News. Link.
The Chamber of Representatives. Link.

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