EU does u-turn on attempt to fast-track ‘toxic’ trade deal

EU does u-turn on attempt to fast-track ‘toxic’ trade deal

Date: 5 July 2016

  • Canada deal could still bind UK for 20 years despite Brexit
  • Government believed to be pushing for measures to bypass Westminster

Global Justice Now welcome today’s u-turn by the European Commission on the free trade deal between Canada and the EU (the Comprehensive Economic & Trade Agreement or CETA), saying that CETA will now require ratification by national parliaments like Westminster (a so-called mixed agreement). The Commission previously argued that  CETA was an ‘EU-only’ treaty, which would have allowed the deal – which campaigners say is a threat to environmental protections, workers’ rights, public services and financial regulation – to pass into force early next year. 

Responding to this u-turn, Nick Dearden the director of Global Justice Now said:

“It’s testament to the strength of the campaign we have built across Europe against CETA and its US cousin TTIP, that the Commission has been forced to backtrack and allow national parliaments a vote on CETA. Let’s be clear, Brexit does not save Britain from CETA – and if it comes into force before we exit the EU, Britain will be bound by CETA for 20 years, making the UK vulnerable to enormously costly court cases from Canadian corporations and US subsidiaries for two decades. It’s truly TTIP by the backdoor. 

“But this isn’t the end of the story. CETA has been slowed down, but the British government has been pushing for so-called provisional implementation’ of CETA – which would mean bringing CETA into force now, with the idea that it can be voted on by parliaments at some future, unspecified date. That is clearly not acceptable, and we must stop the British government foisting this toxic deal on us before a vote can be held.”

“Over 3 million people across Europe have called on the European Commission to scrap CETA because of the enormous and unprecedented corporate power grab that it represents. There is no question about it: the British government will be sued by foreign corporations if this deal is ratified. If people really want to ‘take back control’ we need to fundamentally rethink our trade agreements – and the first step is to halt CETA and TTIP.”

Photo: Flickr/Stop TTIP & CETA