Obstacles to ratification of Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement

(VOVworld) – The Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), signed in 2014, has not been ratified due to differences over a number of legal issues, which has hindered economic cooperation opportunities and affected two-way trade.

Obstacles to ratification of Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement - ảnh 1

Canada and the EU planned to complete ratification procedures in 2015 at the latest. But the agreement was still tabled at a meeting of the EU Council of Trade Ministers in Brussels on May 13. During the May 13 meeting hundreds of people protested against the agreement, which they say will harm European businesses. Its fate will be decided at the Council’s June meeting.

The European Commission said the agreement only needs ratification by the European Parliament, not the parliaments of all 28 EU members. But many EU members disagree because the agreement concerns national matters so it must be ratified by all EU members. The European Commission said it had received important concessions from Canada. While reviewing cooperation agreements at the end of last year, the EU agreed to reforms of private arbitration tribunals, which protect investors in disputes between countries. These tribunals have been criticized by NGOs for limiting the state’s freedom in regulating the economy. Faced with protests against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement (TTIP) and private arbitration tribunals, the European Commission held secrete negotiations with Canada. Tribunals for Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) have been replaced by more transparent tribunals. But there is no guarantee that this reform will calm the governments of EU members.

Generally EU members support the agreement with Canada because it will bring about job and trade opportunities. It will eliminate 99% of taxes between the two sides, allow European businesses to access Canada’s public purchasing market, and open up Canada’s market to European services. If ratified the agreement will increase Canada’s revenue by 12 billion USD and two-way trade 20% and generate 80,000 new jobs. It will be the EU’s first trade agreement with a non-G7 member.

The EU and Canada hope the agreement will be ratified at their summit in Brussels in October. But to this end legal barriers should be lifted as quickly as possible.