Italy won't ratify EU free-trade deal with Canada: deputy PM

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© Reuters. Italian Minister of Labor and Industry Luigi Di Maio speaks at the Italian Business Association Confcommercio meeting in Rome© Reuters. Italian Minister of Labor and Industry Luigi Di Maio speaks at the Italian Business Association Confcommercio meeting in Rome

ROME (Reuters) – Italy will not ratify the European Union’s free trade agreement with Canada, deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio said on Friday, ratcheting up an international trade spat and potentially scuppering the EU’s biggest accord in years.

“Soon CETA (the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) will arrive in parliament and this majority will reject it and it will not ratify it,” Di Maio said at a farmers’ association gathering in Rome.

“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 5-Star Movement which governs with the right-wing League.

The CETA accord needs to be approved by all 28 EU member states in order for it to take effect.

(reporting by Alberto Sisto, writing by Gavin Jones)

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