September date set for provisional application of controversial CETA trade deal

Published by Niall Sargent on

July 10th, 2017

The controversial Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) will be provisionally applied from 21 September after Canada and the European Union reached an agreement at the G20 meeting in Hamburg.

In a joint statement issued last weekend, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and European Commissioner Jean-Claude Juncker stated that all “necessary steps” have been taken on both sides to ratify the agreement.

In February, the European Parliament voted in support of the provisional application of CETA, and the process of ratification has now commenced in 43 national parliaments and regional assemblies across the EU. Canada’s Cabinet also ratified the agreement, with a Bill to implement CETA receiving royal assent in May.

However, the agreement will only definitively enter into force once all parliaments in all EU Member States have ratified the text, with Latvia, Denmark, and Croatia having approved CETA to date. The lower chamber of the Spanish legislature voted in favour of ratification last month.

Speaking to reporters at the end of the G20 summit, Mr Trudeau said that the deal was “good news for the globe” and “raised the bar in demonstrating that trade can and must work for everyone”.

There has been strong opposition to the deal across Europe, with the main issue of contention centred on the Investor Court Settlement (ICS) provision under CETA.

The ICS system would allow foreign corporations to sue Governments in a special arbitration system where state action impact on companies profitability or expectations of profit.

A number of expert bodies such as the European Association of Judges, the Deutsche Richtebund, ClientEarth and over a hundred law professors have highlighted issues with the legality of ICS which would fall outside of both the Irish and European legal systems.

Just last week, a unique coalition of farming, business, trade union, civil society and environmental groups in Ireland voiced their collective concern about the proposed trade deal.

The coalition said that they are united in opposition to CETA as a “bad trade deal” that will compromise laws to protect health, food standards, farmers’ interests, the environment, worker’s rights, and the rule of law.

Politicians from the Green Party, Sinn Fein, and People Before Profit also spoke out against the deal at a protest last week during Mr Trudeau’s visit to Ireland where both he and the Taoiseach reiterated their support for the deal.

It was revealed in February that the Irish Government has not conducted a cost-benefit analysis on the financial impact of the trade deal on Ireland.

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Niall Sargent

Niall is the Editor of The Green News. He is a multimedia journalist, with an MA in Investigative Journalism from City University, London