Europe

EU-Canada ready to sign long-delayed trade pact

  • Demonstrators dressed as clowns protest against international trade agreements TTIP and CETA in front of EU headquarters in Brussels on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016. The Belgian government has reached a deal to back a free trade deal between the European Union and Canada on the day the agreement was supposed to be officially signed with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau(AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

    Demonstrators dressed as clowns protest against international trade agreements TTIP and CETA in front of EU headquarters in Brussels on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016. The Belgian government has reached a deal to back a free trade deal between the European Union and Canada on the day the agreement was supposed to be officially signed with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau(AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)  (The Associated Press)

  • A man protests against international trade agreements TTIP and CETA in front of EU headquarters in Brussels on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016. The Belgian government has reached a deal to back a free trade deal between the European Union and Canada on the day the agreement was supposed to be officially signed with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau(AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

    A man protests against international trade agreements TTIP and CETA in front of EU headquarters in Brussels on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016. The Belgian government has reached a deal to back a free trade deal between the European Union and Canada on the day the agreement was supposed to be officially signed with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau(AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)  (The Associated Press)

  • European Council President Donald Tusk, right, arrives for an EU-Canada summit at the European Council building in Brussels, Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016. Canadian and EU officials, in a one-day summit, are to sign the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)

    European Council President Donald Tusk, right, arrives for an EU-Canada summit at the European Council building in Brussels, Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016. Canadian and EU officials, in a one-day summit, are to sign the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)  (The Associated Press)

The European Union and Canada are preparing to sign a landmark trade pact, ending days of drama after a small Belgian region refused to endorse the agreement and deeply embarrassed the EU.

The long-delayed Comprehensive and Economic Trade Agreement was bedeviled by yet another hold up early Sunday when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's plane had to return to Ottawa due to mechanical issues.

The scheduled two-hour EU-Canada summit is now due to start in Brussels at 1100 GMT.

Trudeau will sign the pact with European Council President Donald Tusk, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, and Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, whose country holds the EU's rotating presidency.

Politicians in Belgium's Wallonia region argued the deal would undermine labor, environment and consumer standards and allow multinationals to crush local companies.