- About bilaterals.org
- How to participate
- Key issues
- Texts of agreements
Resistance grows to EU-Canada trade deal
European Voice | 11 Oct 2012
Resistance grows to EU-Canada trade deal
By Andrew Gardner
Commission and Canadian government hoping for a deal as soon as possible.
Canadian trade negotiators will arrive in Brussels on Monday (15 October) amid an increasingly intense domestic debate about the value of the free-trade deal.
The Canadian government and the European Commission are both keen to complete talks this year on the comprehensive economic and trade agreement (CETA), whose liberalisation of services and removal of tariffs could, the Commission believes, be worth a combined €20 billion annually to the two economies.
A Canadian official said that “significant progress has been achieved across the board”, including on goods, services, investment and procurement.
The talks have received little attention in Europe, but critics in Canada are mounting a strong campaign. The focus on the agreement has been sharpened by the 25th anniversary of the North American free-trade agreement (NAFTA) and by ongoing US efforts to create a Trans-Pacific Partnership, an 11-country trade deal that includes Canada. A recent poll suggested that just 33% of Canadians believe NAFTA has helped the economy.
Political uncertainty has also been created by the victory of the separatist-minded Parti Québécois in regional elections in September. The party’s trade minister, Jean-François Lisée, has said he is “moderately optimistic” that the Quebec government will sign up.
One outstanding issue is an EU clause compensating patent-holders for the time taken to gain market authorisation. Canadian producers of generic drugs claim that this would increase costs for Canadian taxpayers. This argument appears to have gained traction. A poll in September suggested that the public’s support for CETA dropped from 81% to 31% once it was suggested that health costs could rise.
More broadly, some opponents argue that Canada’s central government is using CETA to force liberalisation on provincial governments. They also say that some clauses could harm European taxpayers.
Stuart Trew of the Trade Justice Network said that investment rules – over which the EU gained competence through the Lisbon treaty – would make it easier for corporations “to sue European governments for public policies that purportedly breach corporate rights”.
He also said that a ‘negative-list’ approach to services – under which a service sector, unless named, is automatically covered by the agreement – opens the way for a liberalisation of public services.
That view was rejected by Jason Langrish of the transatlantic Canada-Europe Roundtable for Business, who said that this approach “will allow for inclusion of services that have not yet been invented”. The Commission argues that a ‘negative approach’ is more transparent.
bilaterals.org and a new ISDS (investor-state dispute settlement) platform to be hosted at bilaterals.org seek to hire a coordinator for their work. This is a great opportunity for someone interested in working on a full-time, paid basis to support people’s struggles against so-called free trade and investment deals globally, through a job share for two separate but complementary projects.
Find out more.
News from the movements
29-Jul-2015 Center for International Environmental LawA coalition of environmental and fair trade organizations are protesting the inclusion of language in the “Customs bill” in the US Congress that would explicitly prevent the United States Trade Representative from seeking to address climate change in trade agreements.
28-Jul-2015 Maui NowA coalition of advocates for the environment, labor, health and native Hawaiians will gather on Kāʻanapali Beach, outside the negotiators’ hotel, to speak out against the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
27-Jul-2015 APWLDAsia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development have prepared a toolkit for groups that want to join the struggle against the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
25-Jul-2015 Malaysia KiniAs the negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) enter what could be its last round, we as people living with HIV/Aids (PLHIV), urge the Malaysian government not to trade away our lives.
23-Jul-2015 Intenational Business TimesAnonymous claims responsibility for a cyber-attack conducted against a US government website because of TTIP and TPP talks
22-Jul-2015bilaterals.org and a new ISDS platform to be hosted at bilaterals.org seek to hire a coordinator for their work.
21-Jul-2015 MediapartCommunication faite par Jaques Berthelot le 14 juillet à Bruxelles au cours de l’audition du Parlement européen sur l’Accord de partenariat économique UE-Afrique de l’Ouest.
21-Jul-2015 Le MondeDes négociations secrètes menées à huis clos dans le seul intérêt des multinationales : la sombre étiquette qui colle au projet de traité transatlantique entre l’Europe et les Etats-Unis ne devrait pas sortir blanchie du rapport publié mardi 14 juillet par les ONG Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) et SumOfUs.
bilaterals.org is a collaborative space to share information and support movements struggling against bilateral trade and investment deals which serve corporations, not people. Multilingual. Global. No one owns it. Open publishing. Get involved.