CETA (the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) is a TTIP-like deal between the EU and Canada, and it is much closer to being agreed and implemented. ‘Green Christian’ and many other organisations have been opposing TTIP (the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership), which has become a toxic acronym in Europe. But in CETA we face TTIP’s evil twin. It is understood that, this month, David Cameron will try to ‘fast track’ it so it becomes law before parliament has scrutinised it in Westminster.
Like TTIP, CETA contains a new legal system, open only to foreign corporations and investors. This would allow Canadian companies, and a huge number of US corporations that have subsidiaries in Canada, to sue the British government for ‘unfairness’ whenever their profits are at risk. The whole purpose of CETA is to reduce regulation on business. Standards could be reduced across the board on the basis that they are ‘obstacles to trade’, including those on food safety, workers’ rights and environmental regulation. Public services, including Education and Health, would be at risk, just as under TTIP.
CETA, even before ratification, has already had a significant impact on EU climate change policy. Tar sands oil is considered to be one of the most environmentally destructive fossil fuels in the world, and the majority of this oil is extracted in Alberta, Canada. There is currently little use of tar sands oil in the EU, but that may soon change. When the EU proposed prohibitive new regulations effectively to stop oil from tar sands flowing into Europe, Canada used CETA as a bargaining chip to block the proposal. If CETA is passed, that decision will be locked in – a disaster for climate change.
Three Labour MPs have put down a motion in parliament – Early Day Motion (EDM) #165*. Green Christian urges MPs to sign this EDM before the EU council at the end of June to stop Cameron bypassing our parliament, to call for a vote on CETA in the Houses of Parliament, not just the European Parliament, and to use that vote to oppose CETA.
[*That this House is concerned about the lack of parliamentary and public debate around the EU-Canada trade agreement CETA, most especially that CETA may be provisionally implemented before a debate in the House; recognises that it has still not been confirmed whether CETA is a mixed or sole competence agreement, that the EU Council in June is the last opportunity for EU governments to raise concerns about CETA and that concerns are being raised in parliaments throughout Europe on this question; and calls on the Prime Minister to oppose provisional implementation at the EU Council in June, if necessary by opposing the whole deal unless a ratification vote is guaranteed in the House before any implementation takes place.]