Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Niall Collins TD has said that with the anti-free trade sentiment emanating from the United States, and supported by the hard left in Ireland, it’s now more crucial than ever that the Canadian Europe Trade Agreement (CETA) is concluded as soon as possible.

Earlier today, the EU Parliament’s Trade Committee backed CETA, and it will now proceed to a full plenary vote next month.

Deputy Collins was commenting as news emerges from the United States that the new Trump Administration has pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Trade deal which further demonstrates, and highlights, the need for increased engagement by Ireland and the EU to expand global trading relations.

“Free Trade has been, and remains, the greatest contributor to peace and economic development across the globe and has been transformative in terms of job opportunities and quality of life in Ireland..

“The populist hard left want to see Ireland retreat from the world by closing down opportunities for trade with other nations.  Ironically, those who espouse these views fail, or refuse, to see the similarity between them and the emerging industrial policies of the recently inaugurated US President Trump.

“In the Dáil, in recent months, we have heard from hard left TDs, that Ireland should oppose CETA. The opposite must happen. Progressive trade agreements like CETA will drive economic prosperity, and improve standards.

“We must forge stronger alliances with major trading nations such as Canada and expand the ability of Irish businesses to trade with greater ease with more of the world.

“At all times, we must ensure that in any trade agreement, workers’ rights are enhanced and the quality of Irish food products is protected.

“There can be no reduction in our premier standards, and there must be an equivalence of standards for all businesses operating under such trade agreements.

“The European Union must continue to reach out and engage with nations and trading blocks, and the Irish hard left needs to take a closer look at its own policies and the impact they would have on Irish jobs.” concluded Collins.