Ratifying the CETA Agreement

The Comprehensive Economic & Trade Agreement (CETA)

Official CETA BannerCETA is a free trade agreement between Canada and the European Union. As someone reporting on local news on German/European topics, I am trying to do my best to gather information on this topic to share with my readers. I have been hearing about CETA since 2008 (almost 8 years!) and it is frustrating to me, that after the election where PM Steven Harper was ousted and the new PM Justin Trudeau was elected, nothing public was said about the topic.

The new Liberal Government seems to have a whole new set of priorities, such as legalizing marijuana and taking selfies around the world, all the while lowering taxes and asking our 6 Canadian fire jets to stop participating in the “Coalition”. But what I want to know, is “Show me the money (trail).”

It is challenging to find any current facts, stories, government websites or information, but here is what I do know, so far.

1. Negotiations for CETA started in 2008/2009 and finished in August 2014

Comment: Wow, that was a long time ago, right?

2. If approved, the agreement would begin to come into effect in 2016 at the earliest, at which time about 98% of the tariffs between Canada and the EU would be eliminated.

4. A big deal seems to be the wording of the “Text of the origin declaration”

English Version:
The exporter of the products covered by this document (customs authorization No …2) declares that, except where otherwise clearly indicated, these products are of …3 preferential origin.

German Version:
Der Ausführer (Ermächtigter Ausführer; Bewilligungs-Nr. …(1)) der Waren, auf die sich dieses Handelspapier bezieht, erklärt, dass diese Waren, soweit nicht anderes angegeben, präferenzbegünstigte …(2) Ursprungswaren sind.

5. The EU is a more than $17 trillion market with high-income customers.

6. The consolidated text of the CETA agreement is 1,634 pages long, and it has to be translated into all of the EU and Canadian Country languages.

7. Abbreviations that are used for the countries involved are:

AT Austria
BE Belgium
BG Bulgaria
CY Cyprus
CZ Czech Republic
DE Germany
DK Denmark
EE Estonia
ES Spain
EU European Union, including all its Member States
FI Finland
FR France
EL Greece
HR Croatia
HU Hungary
IE Ireland
IT Italy
LV Latvia
LT Lithuania
LU Luxembourg
MT Malta
NL The Netherlands
PL Poland
PT Portugal
RO Romania
SK Slovak Republic
SI Slovenia
SE Sweden
UK United Kingdom
CAN Canada

8. The government website here has many things to say, although it seems they were last updated in 2014. But here are the highlights:


a. Canadian exporters will have clear and favourable rules that take into consideration Canada’s supply chains to determine which goods are considered “made in Canada” and eligible for preferential tariff treatment.
b. The processes through which Canadian exporters get their products to EU buyers will be easier, faster and less costly.
c. CETA will help to ensure that unnecessary or discriminatory regulatory requirements do not diminish the value of new market access for Canadians.
d. Cooperation and information sharing between Canadian and EU regulators will result in more compatible regulatory measures that could make it easier for Canadians to do business in the EU.
e. Ensuring early cooperation on food safety, animal and plant life and health strengthens the protection of Canadians while preventing misunderstandings that might restrict the free movement of goods.
f. CETA provisions will offer special recognition for unique Canadian areas of activity such as biotechnology, science, technology and innovation.
g. CETA will ensure greater transparency and information sharing in the matter of subsidies.
h. Clear rules will support a transparent and fair trading environment between Canada and the EU.
i. CETA’s temporary entry provisions will make it easier for highly skilled professionals and businesspeople, such as engineers and senior managers, to work in the EU.

Why the Delay?

Here is a clue: As late as May 2015, it had been believed that the legal scrubbing and translation of CETA would be completed by December 2015 with ratification votes possibly beginning in January 2016. Now, the latest speculation is that CETA isn’t likely to go before the European Parliament until mid to late 2016 or early 2017.

More clues! The major roadblock is that CETA, as negotiated, lacks sufficient political and public support to be assured of ratification in Europe. It’s fair to say the inclusion of an investor–state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism in the deal makes it toxic. – See more at: https://www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/commentary/ratifying-ceta-easier-said-done#sthash.UUs9R3Ru.dpuf

Another clue: “ISDS” became a buzzword in current negotiations between the US and EU. Wrangling over the Investor State Dispute Settlement process — arbitrary courts of lawyers from both sides that help settle rows — now threatens to upend Canada’s own deal. (Article found here: https://www.politico.eu/article/canada-may-be-loser-in-us-eu-trade-deal/)

Final clue for today: Investment-to-state arbitration or ISDS is a system of international arbitration designed to protect foreign investors from discrimination or unfair treatment by governments. More information can be found here:
https://ec.europa.eu/trade/policy/in-focus/ceta/questions-and-answers/ (Website of the European Commission

Other Interesting Articles/Websites regarding CETA

1. Ten Things You need to Know About CETA


2. Top Ten Reasons Why CETA is Bad for Canada.


3. Ten Questions about CETA


4. Justin Trudeau writes letter of support to Davis over CETA


5. Finally: Opponents of CETA are concerned the agreement will be more beneficial to the EU than to Canada. According to an internal EU analysis of the agreement, EU exporters will save more than $670 million annually in duty payments compared with about $225 million saved annually by Canadian exporters


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