17:30 GMT +316 December 2019
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    EU-Canada Trade Deal Could Become a 'Trojan Horse' for TTIP

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    Shortly after leading European countries announced suspension of the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the United States, Europe stood against a major deal deal with Canada. Many fear that the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) will include the same controversial provisions as the TTIP.

    Unlike big scandals around the TTIP, the EU-Canada deal has rarely made headlines. The negotiations started in 2009 and, just like the TTIP, have been secretive.

    They have involved representatives of major international corporations, but excluded labor unions, representatives of healthcare and education institutions as well as media.

    Since the beginning of the talks, the European Commission has held only four meetings with public activists on the issue.

    Until recently, the possible provisions of the deal were not made public. But even now, the 1600 pages document is very difficult to closely examine. It has no table of contents and explanations. Meanwhile, the document is scheduled to be signed in October.

    Those criticizing the deal are concerned that the CETA deal includes some of the provisions from the TTIP deal with the US, an article in the Russian online newspaper Vzglyad read.

    For example, in addition to lifting customs barriers, the deal presumes the same measures to protect private companies as the TTIP. According to the document, a company can file a lawsuit against any European government if the company considers its policy lossmaking for its business. This means that de-privatization and nationalization of companies would be impossible.

    Priority of corporate interests over local legal norms will deliver a heavy blow to the European social-oriented economy.

    The EU is one the global economic leaders while Canada is the 14th largest economy in the world. A simple trade deal between the EU and Canada would not significantly affect the European economy. However, experts found a detail in the text which would turn the CETA into a "Trojan horse" for the TTIP deal, according to the article.

    The point is that the CETA would protect all corporations working in Canada. Thus, not only Canadian but also American and Chinese corporations could become part of the deal if they run business in Canada.

    CETA has the same lobbyists in the EU who have promoted the TTIP deal. A year ago, European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malstrom complained that the TTIP negotiations faced criticism. After Brexit, she insisted that the talks had made progress. Now, she is defending the CETA from criticism. And the main lobbyists of the deal (like also in the event of the TTIP) is President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker.

    Now, after France and Germany openly expressed concerns over the TTIP, the CETA deal is a new chance for corporations to take control over the European market, the article read.

    In May, the European Commission recommended approving CETA by vote in the European Parliament. However, opponents managed to oppose the decision.

    In fact, French and German business elites recruited socialists, anti-globalists and human rights activists to protect the interests of national companies from international corporations.

    Leader of the German socialists Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said that attempts to approve the CETA without discussions in national parliaments would be absurd. French far-left presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon accused Juncker of trying to impose the deal "by force."

    In June, French business elites and politicians struggled to pressure Brussels. Brexit dealt the final blow to Juncker. It was a sign that Britain does not want to get involved in the EU’s global projects, including the TTIP and CETA. Finally, Juncker adopted a mixed option for the CETA – before a vote in the European Parliament the document must be approved by the national parliaments of all EU members.

    The national parliaments can delay the procedure for several years. In addition, chances are high that the European Parliament will not approve CETA.

    However, CETA has supporters within the EU. Some new members like the Czech Republic, Romania and Bulgaria have already reached visa-free agreements for their citizens with Canada. Moreover, Juncker is also committed to the deal.

    He said that 98 percent of issues in the document are not in the jurisdiction of national parliaments and, thus, they can be discussed only by European trade ministers of the European Parliament. He also insists that the deal will be signed under any conditions in October and the main provisions will come into force in early-2017. Meanwhile, national parliaments will discuss the final two percent of the deal.

    Related:

    Canada’s Trade Minister Travels to EU to Promote CETA Deal
    Belgian PM Considers Suspending EU-US TTIP Negotiations Relevant
    France Not Planning to Halt TTIP Talks, Though Treaty Needs to Be More Balanced
    TTIP to Bring No Advantages to People as Economic Promises Baseless
    Tags:
    Brexit, trade, economy, talks, Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), European Parliament, European Commission, European Union, Jean-Claude Juncker, Canada
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