CETA Deal About To Be Ratified – Investors To Attack Public Interest Safeguards

26th September 2016 / EU

By Graham Vanbergen – Recently, TruePublica published an article entitled “Reported Death Of TTIP – An Abhorrent Political Deception“. It was published all over the world, translated into various languages and cited in reports, articles and websites too numerous to mention. The story was about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership or TTIP and its reported demise after French Prime Minister Manuel Valls and German Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel allegedly agreed that negotiations between the EU and the US on TTIP, had essentially failed.

What we reported from sources close to the TTIP negotiations was that Valls and Gabriel were lying because both France and Germany have upcoming elections in 2017 and that neither Hollande or Merkel would have any chance of re-election if TTIP was either signed or soon to be, such is the public opposition to the trade deal.

However, whilst the vast majority of citizens have fallen for the mainstream media story about TTIP’s demise, all it was doing was shielding them from another truth. CETA is about to be ratified. Don’t be fooled just because this is a deal between Canada and the EU. Any US corporation with subsidiaries located in Canada will have the same rights under the CETA trade deal. It is TTIP in disguise. A wolf in sheep’s clothing.

This from Corporate Europe Observatory:

A new report on the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) reveals how the trade deal could make EU member states vulnerable to costly lawsuits from North American investors that threaten public interest. 

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Days before EU trade ministers meet in Bratislava to decide on the CETA ratification process, Corporate Europe Observatory, Friends of the Earth Europe, the European Public Services Union (EPSU) and twenty other European civil society organisations publish ‘CETA – Trading Away Democracy’. The report shows that the investment chapter of CETA remains a substantial threat to European democratic decision-making.

Once ratified, CETA will codify the right for Canadian and US investors with subsidiaries in Canada to sue EU member states as well as the European Union for legislation which could negatively affect their profits. CETA does not include any obligations for those investors.

Existing trade deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement show that the majority of such cases are filed over laws protecting public health, the environment and labour rights, pitting corporate profits against the public interest.

As highlighted in the report, the investment chapter of CETA will lead to a boom in investor claims. These claims are to be decided in arbitration courts located outside the framework of national and European Union jurisdictions. This parallel justice system makes court proceedings expensive, untransparent and biased, which burdens public budgets and challenges democratic decision-making.

Despite wide-spread public mobilisation against key aspects of the agreement – notably its investment chapter – CETA is supposed to be signed before the end of this year.

At TruePublica we have written dozens of articles warning of the dangers of trade deals such as TTIP. Here are a few words from those whose ears are close to the wall:

Corporate Europe Observatory’s trade policy researcher and campaigner Lora Verheecke noted: “Our new report screens the European Commission promises meant to reassure citizens that CETA’s investment chapter is harmless. But despite the changes in the investment clauses, CETA still fails to protect the EU and member states from investors attacking public interest legislation.”

Paul de Clerck, economic justice programme coordinator at Friends of the Earth Europe said: “The Investment Court System is the worst part of recent trade deals as it undermines our democracy. If CETA is accepted, it opens the door for all Canadian companies and major US companies through their subsidiaries in Canada, to sue European governments. We can expect a flood of new cases of investors attacking laws protecting public health, the environment and labour rights.”

Jan William Goudriaan, general secretary at the European Public Services Union, added: “It is not acceptable that public services like healthcare are liable to special investor courts when they exist first and foremost to serve the public. Ordinary people see that it is wrong to hand over to investors huge amounts of public money in these cases, why don’t more governments see it?”

Global Justice also confirmed that Canada has itself fought and lost a plentiful and diverse range of legal cases brought by US corporations under the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) for “outlawing carcinogenic chemicals in petrol, reinvesting in local communities and halting the devastation of quarries.

In another piece published by TruePublica just a few days ago, new research shows that “Today, of the 100 wealthiest economic entities in the world, 69 are now corporations and only 31 countries*. This is up from 63 to 37 a year ago. At this rate, within a generation we will be living in a world entirely dominated by giant corporations.”

These insidious and deceitful trade deals will be sold to the British people as global trade agreements, heralded as a great success due to ‘Brexit’ and supported by much of the media who themselves have a vested interest in them.

In reality, these upcoming trade deals threaten our already weak democracies and pave the way for an attack on the environment, health systems, food, jobs, public services, digital rights and much more. In a bizarre twist one should not forget another reality. Let’s say that the general public got so angry that mass protests over, say, fracking eventually resulted in the government deciding to outlaw it to save their political skins. The government (AKA the tax-payer) would then end up paying compensation to corporations for the loss of expected profits. The fines would be paid through general taxation leading to (more austerity??) more public anger.

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Autumn Of Action

September – November, 2016

During the Autumn of Action Corporate Europe, their partners along with TruePublica want to send out a loud and clear signal against four trade and investment deals that threaten our democratic rights, food sovereignty, jobs and the environment. These agreements are CETA (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, between the EU and Canada), TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, between the US and EU), TPP (Transpacific Partnership, between the US, Canada and various Asian countries) and TiSA (Trade in Services Agreement, numerous parties). To find out more, please read our Call to Action and refer to the texts and videos in the resources section. Join HERE

 

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