- About bilaterals.org
- Feb-2016: New ISDS platform launched
- Sep-2004: Launch announcement
- Feb-2015: Relaunch of bilaterals.org
- Mar-2013: Relaunch of bilaterals.org
- Jun-2009: Relaunch of bilaterals.org
- Dec-2008: An update from bilaterals.org and logo design contest announcement
- Dec-2006: bilaterals.org in Spanish & French
- Sep-2006: Update from 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.
News from the movements
25-Aug-2016 RTSome 2,000 members of the American Postal Workers Union have gathered in Miami where they are officially opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
24-Aug-2016 Deutsche WelleHundreds of thousands of protesters are expected to take to the streets in several German cities to rally against plans to move forward with two key international trade agreements - one year after a similar protest managed to attract similar numbers.
23-Aug-2016 APRNNeither the TPP nor the RCEP, neither the US nor China and their corporations will ever address the long-standing people’s aspiration for an international trading system that responds to their needs.
23-Aug-2016 ScoopCivil society groups, trade unions, church groups, environmentalists, gender activists and many more are calling for Ministers to make no decision on PACER-Plus — a free trade agreement between Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands — until there has been a proper social impact assessment and mandate from the Pacific people who are most likely to be affected.
22-Aug-2016 Radio New ZealandA meeting on Pacific labour mobility under the PACER Plus trade deal has a glaring omission – the voices of organised labour.
Avec de nouveaux accords commerciaux, le vol organisé par les multinationales est légalisé et les semences paysannes deviennent illégalesDe nouveaux accords de libre-échange légalisent le vol organisé par les grandes entreprises et mettent en péril la possibilité pour les agriculteurs de conserver, produire et échanger des semences.
22-Aug-2016 El PaísEl secretario de Relaciones Internacionales del Pit-Cnt, Fernando Gambera, afirmó tras participar del XVI Foro Social Mundial realizado en Montreal (Canadá) que los Tratado de Libre Comercio (TLC) son una preocupación para todas las centrales sindicales porque "apuntan a degradar las conquistas de los trabajadores".
22-Aug-2016 Premium TimesSocial Action has asked the federal government to not to sign the Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union. Ghana and Ivory Coast have also resisted the EPA
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.