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Ratification of Ceta: the French majority hostile to the trade agreement

This is an obstacle that the presidential camp did not see coming.

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Ratification of Ceta: the French majority hostile to the trade agreement

This is an obstacle that the presidential camp did not see coming. Five years after its tense adoption in the National Assembly, in 2019, the Senate is examining this Thursday the text of ratification of the free trade treaty between the European Union and Canada, known as CETA. At the Luxembourg Palace, a convenient alliance between elected officials from the right and the left could bring down this agreement, which notably ratifies the elimination of almost all customs duties between the two partners.

A blockage encouraged by a majority of French people (55%) for whom the treaty “does not impose the same health conditions on Canadian agriculture as on European agriculture”, according to our latest Odoxa-Backbone survey for Le Figaro. This, while Ceta provides for the importation of Canadian meat, causing its opponents to fear unfair competition with the French beef industry.

Even within the presidential camp, which nevertheless praises the benefits, only 52% of supporters defend an agreement which would allow “an increase in economic and commercial activity” between the two partners. The fact remains that almost half of French people (47%) have never heard of the treaty with Canada, and even less of the one under discussion with the countries of South America (46%), known as Mercosur. .

Nevertheless, with less than three months to go and the European elections and against a backdrop of agricultural crisis, these two free trade agreements could weigh in the balance of voters. Among French people who know at least one of the two, and who intend to vote on June 9, 71% assure that the treaties will “count” when they put their ballot in the ballot box.

It must be said that the French take a more negative view of free trade agreements, since more than half of them (59%) consider that they represent "a danger for European companies whose products are competed with low-cost products. An opinion shared among the ranks of rebellious sympathizers (54%), up to those even more critical of the National Rally (69%). With the exception of Renaissance voters (62%), who see it more as “an opportunity for European companies to export and develop outside their borders”.

A trend which is also reflected in the expectations of the French towards the European Union. The latter (56%) thus demand more economic “protectionism”, abandoning a little more the need to develop “free trade” (20%). A large majority nevertheless seems to agree to move the lines, since only 23% wish to “keep the current situation”.

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