Belgian leaders near consensus for EU-Canada trade deal

Belgium’s political leaders edged closer to resolving differences that have blocked a landmark EU-Canada free trade deal but time was running short for holding a planned signing summit on Thursday. The stakes are high amid warnings that the EU’s international standing, already battered by Britain’s shock June Brexit vote, will suffer further if seven years of trade negotiations go to waste because of internal Belgian politics. “We have been able to reach agreement on the documents with all the head ministers” who represent Belgium’s linguistic communities, Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders said as the latest of several rounds of talks on Wednesday resumed at 1900 GMT.

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