BRUSSELS — The European Union and Canada on Wednesday cast their newly approved trade deal as a much-needed beacon for cooperation, with the EU criticizing President Trump’s protectionist bent as a threat to the continent’s prosperity.

After about seven years of negotiations, the EU parliament on Wednesday approved a deal that will eliminate most tariffs for business between the EU’s economy of half a billion people and Canada’s 35 million.

Although critics claim the deal will mainly help large companies, proponents say it will create jobs and wealth. And, they argue, it is a sorely needed reminder of the world’s capacity to cooperate at a time when political forces, even within the EU, want to bring back national barriers to migration and trade.

“This is the vote that the world was waiting today to hear – whether there will be a progressive voice in the world,” Canadian International Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said during a visit to Brussels.

The future of global trade was put in doubt after Trump nixed a trade deal with Pacific countries and threatened to get tough on China and to renegotiate a free trade pact with Mexico and Canada. In Europe, political parties opposed to the EU’s message of shared markets and open borders for workers are doing well in the polls ahead of elections in countries like the Netherlands and France.

The EU parliament approved the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with Canada by a wide margin of 408 for, 254 against and 33 abstentions, allowing for its provisional entry into force as early as April.

At the same time as the EU lawmakers were voting, the bloc’s executive also took aim at Trump.

“While we do not yet know the details of the policies the Trump administration will pursue, we do know that their instincts will be protectionist more than ever,” said Pierre Moscovici, the EU’s economic and financial affairs chief. “That means that the international trading and security architecture to which we owe our unprecedented peace and prosperity is also threatened as never before. So let us mobilize.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to address the EU legislature on Thursday.

The EU vote should close the drawn-out approval process across the 28 member states, where some governments and legislations had tried to modify or scuttle the deal. The Netherlands could conceivably still hold up the deal if it demands an advisory national referendum.

Trade between the EU and Canada amounts to more than $63 billion a year, and the EU expects the deal to boost that total by 20 percent by removing almost all tariffs.

Critics say it could dilute standards for food safety or labor rights by giving more power to big corporations. Outside the EU parliament, demonstrating activists were vocal about their worries about the deal.

“What will happen is more and more deregulation, less social protection for citizens, for small companies, for independent workers,” said Maika Fernandes, who had traveled from Alicante, southern Spain. “No one will be able to compete with the multinationals. It will be a financial Europe that will favor only big multinationals.”

EU trade chief Cecilia Malmstrom tried to assuage those concerns saying it “will not change food safety standards or any other EU requirements. Only the EU institutions can do that.”