Fast’s Trade Deal With EU Under Threat

By June 24, 2014Issues

Federal Minster of International Trade and Abbotsford MP Ed Fast has been trying for a long time to get something in the ‘win’ column for his boss on the international trade front.

The closest he’s come has been on the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)  file which seems to take two steps back for every one step it takes forward in its evolution.

Moreso than the possibility of having to give up the Canadian dairy industry’s government protection which drives consumer prices up in Canada and keeps foreign milk products out, the newest threat to Fast’s and Haper’s hopes of a trade deal with Europe comes from the deal’s provisions for foreign-owned companies to make countries pay for political decisions which inhibit their ability to make money.

How German Opposition Could Sink a Major Canadian Trade Pact

Furor over mechanism allowing foreign investors to sue states could sap CETA.
Originally published on 6/20/14
By Scott Sinclair.
The German government has long been a solid supporter of investment protection treaties with developing countries. But recently Germany itself has been sued by foreign investors using ISDS. The most controversial dispute is a 2012 claim by the Swedish energy company Vatenfall which seeks compensation for Germany’s phase-out of nuclear power. In the wake of the Vatenfall investor-state challenge, public and official opinion has swung firmly against the inclusion of ISDS in trade agreements, especially those treaties that involve other developed countries such as the United States and Canada.

[excerpt] In just a few months, German activists collected half-a-million signatures on petitionsopposing the TTIP and the CETA. The TTIP was a prominent issue in the recent European Parliament elections, with candidates from across the political spectrum pledging to oppose the inclusion of ISDS in new treaties and any erosion of European regulatory standards.

[excerpt] Suddenly, the CETA is no longer flying under the public radar. The deal includes most of the elements of the contentious TTIP, including ISDS and regulatory harmonization initiatives. The Canadian government’s aggressivelobbying against the European Fuel Quality directive, which aimed to reduce the use of carbon-intensive transport fuels from oilsands, has aroused public suspicion that the CETA’s “regulatory co-operation” provisions will be used to attack higher European consumer protection and environmental standards. In Germany, the CETA is now regarded as a prototype — or Trojan horse — for the TTIP. NGOs are campaigning actively against both agreements.

[excerpt] Both Canada and Europe have highly regarded court systems that protect the rights of all investors, regardless of their nationality. There is no convincing justification for including investor-state arbitration in the CETA negotiations. Europeans who are rightly concerned about the TTIP are increasingly aware that the CETA poses similar threats. Influential European consumer, environmental protection and labour organizations now urge “EU member states and the European Parliament to reject any final TTIP or CETA deal including ISDS provisions.”
The current Canadian government’s dogged support of ISDS, despite Canada’s negative experience under NAFTA’s Chapter 11, has landed the CETA in the middle of a hot public debate in Europe. It is too early to predict the final outcome, but the fate of the CETA in Europe is now inextricably tied to that of the highly controversial TTIP. If the U.S. agreement sinks, it could drag the CETA and its ISDS provisions down along with it.


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