Five years on Canadian-European trade deal, full ratification not guaranteed

OTTAWA – Canada’s trade deal with the EU has been operating in draft mode for five years as of Wednesday, raising suspicions it may never be formally implemented.

The controversy over how companies can sue the government remains unresolved. But Canadian trade experts say the deal is still a big win in an era of shocks to supply chains and continued resistance to globalization.

The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, known as CETA, entered into provisional effect on September 21, 2017 after being signed by the European Commission and the Government of Canada.

Since then, trade between Canada and the EU has increased by 33%, reaching $100 billion in goods and services last year.

This means more exports to Europe of everything from seafood to auto parts, boosting pharmaceutical and meat exports to Canada.

However, the agreement will not become legal until all 27 members of the bloc have individually ratified the agreement.

Lawrence Harman, a trade attorney in Toronto, said key parts of the agreement on tariffs, digital commerce and public procurement are in place.

“It works on all fronts,” Herman said Tuesday in an interview from France.

“I don’t think CETA will ever be formally ratified.”

The most controversial issue revolves around what mechanisms countries can use to seek compensation and remediate disagreements with national, state and local governments, as well as investor-state dispute resolution. is known.

The idea is a neutral mechanism for hearing complaints beyond the courts, which can be influenced by national governments.

Workers and environmental activists have argued that this waives all sovereignty, from consumer protection to worker safety.

A German high court in February rejected claims that the provision would undermine the country’s constitution, but the provision remains controversial in Germany, one of 12 countries that have not ratified CETA.

In many of these countries, Herrmann said opposition is only growing. “I don’t think it will take effect definitively,” he said.

Jason Langrish, head of the Canada Europe Roundtable for Business, agrees.

Langrish, who pioneered CETA as part of the Canadian delegation to the European Union and helped represent industry groups in the CETA negotiations, said:

“The investor state (the court) has been blown out of proportion,” he argued.

Trade Minister Mary Ng was not available for an interview Tuesday as she was traveling abroad.

However, her office noted that Canada and EU countries would appoint members of the proposed tribunal and that they would be “subject to a strict ethical commitment and a strong appeals mechanism.”

“This agreement will give Canadian farmers, producers, processors and exporters priority access to over 500 million consumers across the EU,” said spokesman Chris Zhou. increase.

According to Langrish, CETA’s main success was to formalize rules for high-volume transactions that the two parties had already done, making Canada less dependent on the United States.

“(U.S. President Donald Trump) With Trump coming and going, protectionism becoming the norm, and all these difficulties with China, it’s good to have our relationship with Europe as a little hedge. he said.

“It sent a signal to the Canadian and EU business communities that both sides are committed to each other and want this to work as a long-term partnership.”

Langlish said trends in offshoring, immigration and automation have made it harder for politicians to sell off trade deals, making the trade deals themselves more complex.

This is because countries already have agreements to obtain goods at low tax rates across borders. This means that modern trade negotiations include more complex topics such as technical regulations, work qualifications and competition rules.

“The big bang era of trade deals is over,” said Langlish.

CETA has been active since 2004, with the Harper government signing the first agreement in 2014.

In 2016, ratification talks broke down in a regional dispute in Belgium.

At the time, former Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland pulled out of the negotiations and gave a moving interview that held back tears.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is heading to Canada this month. Her visit was postponed due to the postponement of various international conferences due to the death of Queen Elizabeth.

This report by the Canadian Press was first published on September 21, 2022.

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Five years on Canadian-European trade deal, full ratification not guaranteed

Source link Five years on Canadian-European trade deal, full ratification not guaranteed

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