The corporations and political elites that have been steering free-trade deals for many years are finding they are losing control. Strong public resistance and opposition from national and regional governments in Europe are throwing the controversial TTIP and CETA trade deals off track.
Late on Friday, Canada’s trade minister – the former FT journalist Chrystia Freeland – declared that the trade agreement with the EU (the so-called Ceta) had failed. She’d been commuting between Brussels and Namur, the seat of Wallonia’s regional parliament, for a few days, trying to get the region’s left-wing government to support the trade deal. But her efforts, and those by others, were in vain. Wallonia didn’t budge. All the EU leaders that were in Brussels to seal the deal ahead of Justin Trudeau’s visit on Thursday, had to return back home empty-handed.
The opposition to CETA and TTIP has been unprecedented in the history of the EU. Concerns have been expressed by millions of people across the continent, including lawyers, academics, political parties, local authorities and virtually all sectors of civil society. Many governments have also expressed reservations on CETA. Only the Walloons, however, had the guts to show it the red card.
Investment protection and investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanisms are perhaps the most contentious aspects of TTIP and CETA. These mechanisms provide foreign investors with the right to sue the EU or its Member States in private tribunals over potential losses in profit due to current or new public welfare regulations.
European governments today failed to sign off the EU-Canada trade deal known as CETA. Campaign group Global Justice Now welcomed the defeat of CETA deal, which they claim will lead to an increase in the power of big business over our food standards, public services and decision-making. They called on the EU to stop the negotiations of CETA.
TTIP – the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – appears to be dead. The German economy minister, Sigmar Gabriel, says that “the talks with the United States have de facto failed”. The French prime minister, Manuel Valls, has announced “a clear halt”. Belgian and Austrian ministers have said the same thing. People power wins. For now.
Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) could lock in privatisation and increase ability of big business to call the shots on health, education and...
Juncker has just announced that CETA - the EU-Canadian trade agreement similar to TTIP - could go ahead with just the approval of EU leaders and the European Parliament, bypassing national parliaments. This directly contradicts EU law, which says that CETA (like all agreements that affect national legislation) should also be decided on by national parliaments. This is an outrageous attempt to undermine our democratic rights.
12Page 2 of 2