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CETA trade agreement between Canada and EU

Bergslagstroll

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Maybe it is more debate in Canada and in other European countries but here in Sweden it is very quiet and almost no debate about CETA, the trade agreement between EU and Canada. Even if it is a very controversial agreement that is accused of pushing multinational corporations’ interests at the expense of people and the environment.

It is also strange that politicians are trying to get through a so much controversial agreement. That even if they don’t care about their citizens’ concern they at least should understand it makes it harder to pass the agreement. Especially since other agreement like ACTA have failed because of public opposition of their pro-business agenda.

So why have so few people heard of Ceta? Largely because Canadians and Europeans think they’re quite alike. They don’t fear the takeover of their economy in the way they do when signing a trade deal with the US. But this is a big mistake, because these trade deals are not about Europeans versus Americans or Canadians. They are about big business versus citizens.

If you needed proof that modern trade agreements are actually nothing more than an excuse to hand big business power at our expense, you need look no further than Ceta. No wonder the public outcry is growing, and opposition to TTIP is spilling over to the Canadian deal.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/may/30/ttip-trade-deal-agreements-ceta-eu-canada

https://stop-ttip.org/what-is-the-problem-ttip-ceta/faqs/
 

joG

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Maybe it is more debate in Canada and in other European countries but here in Sweden it is very quiet and almost no debate about CETA, the trade agreement between EU and Canada. Even if it is a very controversial agreement that is accused of pushing multinational corporations’ interests at the expense of people and the environment.

It is also strange that politicians are trying to get through a so much controversial agreement. That even if they don’t care about their citizens’ concern they at least should understand it makes it harder to pass the agreement. Especially since other agreement like ACTA have failed because of public opposition of their pro-business agenda.



https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/may/30/ttip-trade-deal-agreements-ceta-eu-canada

https://stop-ttip.org/what-is-the-problem-ttip-ceta/faqs/

There is quite a lot in ceta or ttip to talk about, but I have not seen anything that I thought harmful. They are certainly much less intrusive than the Lisbon Treaty without the massive political overreach of the latter.
I would be happy to know, what it is you do not like about it. But I have read most of ttip and ceta and pounds of secondary literature, so it is a terribly broad topic to present in a short forum entry.


PS:Odd Btw that The Guardian seems so negative on ttip and ceta after taking the corner for the Lisbon Treaty in Brexit.
 

Bergslagstroll

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There is quite a lot in ceta or ttip to talk about, but I have not seen anything that I thought harmful. They are certainly much less intrusive than the Lisbon Treaty without the massive political overreach of the latter.
I would be happy to know, what it is you do not like about it. But I have read most of ttip and ceta and pounds of secondary literature, so it is a terribly broad topic to present in a short forum entry.


PS:Odd Btw that The Guardian seems so negative on ttip and ceta after taking the corner for the Lisbon Treaty in Brexit.

First of all, you have the lack of debate about the agreement, that either media or the politicians have done their job informing about the agreement. That big business have had the opportunity to influence the agreement, while ordinary citizens barely knows that the agreement exists at least here in Sweden.

Also you are correct that it is a very broad topic so in this post I only focus on two problematic areas.

First the right of corporations to sue national government in private courts. From the article in the OP.

Like the US deal, Ceta contains a new legal system, open only to foreign corporations and investors. Should the British government make a decision, say, to outlaw dangerous chemicals, improve food safety or put cigarettes in plain packaging, a Canadian company can sue the British government for “unfairness”. And by unfairness this simply means they can’t make as much profit as they expected. The “trial” would be held as a special tribunal, overseen by corporate lawyers.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/may/30/ttip-trade-deal-agreements-ceta-eu-canada

This have led to a lot of public opposition so there are now a reformed proposal, but the new ICS model is still bad for democracy, public interest legislation, and taxpayer money.

Pia Eberhardt, Corporate Europe Observatory: ... “Some MEPs want to update the EU-Canada CETA deal with this ‘new’ ISDS approach. But the Commission’s ‘new’ ISDS model is as dangerous for democracy, public interest legislation, and taxpayer money as the ‘old’ model enshrined in the EU-Canada CETA deal. The rebranded version contains the same dangerous investor privileges, often in wording identical to the CETA text. We must not be fooled by falling into this PR trap – special rights for multinationals and the rich are unacceptable, in whatever disguise.”

Zombie attack! TTIP corporate super rights come back from the dead | Corporate Europe Observatory

Also it is risk stopping government to bring certain services back into public ownership.

Through something called a “ratchet clause” current levels of privatisation would be “locked in” on any services not specifically exempted. If Canadian or EU governments want to bring certain services back into public ownership, they could be breaking the terms of the agreement.

If you're worried about TTIP, then you need to know about CETA | Voices | The Independent

Even more troublesome is the fact that it includes new public services. That how can you know what public services that will exist in the future and that they all will be best handled by the free market?

For the first time the EU has negotiated a trade deal with a “negative list” for services. In short this means that unless European governments have explicitly excluded specific services, all services, including new public services in the future, will be automatically open to competition from foreign service providers.
12 reasons the Green/EFA Group is opposed to CETA - #TTIP
 
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joG

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First of all, you have the lack of debate about the agreement, that either media or the politicians have done their job informing about the agreement. That big business have had the opportunity to influence the agreement, while ordinary citizens barely knows that the agreement exists at least here in Sweden.

Also you are correct that it is a very broad topic so in this post I only focus on two problematic areas.

First the right of corporations to sue national government in private courts. From the article in the OP.



https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/may/30/ttip-trade-deal-agreements-ceta-eu-canada

This have led to a lot of public opposition so there are now a reformed proposal, but the new ICS model is still bad for democracy, public interest legislation, and taxpayer money.



Zombie attack! TTIP corporate super rights come back from the dead | Corporate Europe Observatory

Also it is risk stopping government to bring certain services back into public ownership.



If you're worried about TTIP, then you need to know about CETA | Voices | The Independent

Even more troublesome is the fact that it includes new public services. That how can you know what public services that will exist in the future and that they all will be best handled by the free market?


12 reasons the Green/EFA Group is opposed to CETA - #TTIP

1) I really see no fundamental problem in a mechanism that protects investors from the economic effects confiscatory measures by governments. What the exact codification should be is open to negotiation. That it must be outside of the jurisdiction and influence of the country concerned seems quite a good idea. This does not seem to prevent beneficial legislation. All it does is to ensure that investors will be protected from the economic consequences from changes a host country might introduce. When Germany legislated closure of nuclear plants they did not want to compensate for the losses to investors resulting from the change. National courts were no alternative, so where should investors go?
BTW it is good for the country to make full compensation for confiscation equivalent laws believable to investors. That means that Investors will be more interested in investing in the jurisdiction, as the legal system is more reliable. As the investment is less risky the investment will require a lower margin and break-even. More investments are profitable and more money will be invested.

2) It is a good idea for the production of most private goods to be out of the hands of public production. That is highly desirable for the citizens of every country. Public production is wasteful and should be removed from governments' mandates. Where do you see a problem?

3) It is relatively straight forward how to tell which goods are private and which are public. Individual cases will be more difficult than others, but there is no real problem there. So again, I am not sure, where the problem is supposed to be.


PS: Again, if the Greens are against CETA, they should be violently against the Lisbon Treaty. That treaty is much more intrusive and intransparent in where it will go. Just think of the Euro or immigration or of the consequences from European court decisions, where EU trumps national law or where the majority of states forces a country to do things that go against its principals.
 
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Bergslagstroll

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ISDS can have huge negative effect while they seem to little need for them in trade agreement like CETA. That investors even want to invest in a country like Brazil, a country with a lot of corruption even if Brazil for a long time have refused ISDS in trade agreements. That both EU countries and Canada have both a lot less corruption and a much better rule of law than Brazil. Also both EU countries and Canada are dependent on international trade so they have strong incentives to treat foreign companies fairly. That at the same time companies can hire lawyers, lobbyist, PR staff and other experts to protect their interests.

There are several reasons for the sharp rise in contentious arbitrations, says Lori Wallach of Public Citizen, a watchdog group. Companies have learnt how to exploit ISDS clauses, even going as far as buying firms in jurisdictions where they apply simply to gain access to them. Arbitrators are paid $600-700 an hour, giving them little incentive to dismiss cases out of hand; the secretive nature of the arbitration process and the lack of any requirement to consider precedent allows plenty of scope for creative adjudications.

At the same time, academics have begun to question whether ISDS delivers the benefits it is supposed to, in the form of increased foreign investment. Foreign investors can protect themselves against egregious governmental abuse by purchasing political-risk insurance, points out Terra Lawson-Remer, an economist at the Brookings Institution. Brazil continues to receive lots of foreign investment, despite its long-standing refusal to sign any treaty with an ISDS mechanism.

The arbitration game | The Economist

That yes private solution works best in most sectors, but some sectors are best under public control. Like for example in Germany communities are taking back control over power plant and power lines.

Germany: Trend toward re-municipalisation of energy sector | EPSU

While for example privatizing of the railways haven’t work very well in Sweden and as I understand privatizing of the railways have also failed in the UK.

On each of the above measures, UK rail privatisation has been a failure. Today’s railways require billions more in government funding, private investment has failed to materialise and passengers face the highest fares and travel on some of the oldest rolling stock in Europe. Private train operating companies are net recipients of public subsidy while distributing nearly all their operating profits as dividends to the shareholders of their parent companies.

The Four Big Myths of UK Rail Privatisation – Action For Rail

EU and Lisbon agreement deserves its own thread. Here I can just quickly comment that the big problem with EU is that it’s too much we citizens of this country against EU or we citizens in this country against citizens of other EU countries. While it’s too little of we citizen of different EU countries together against special interests like big business.

Like for example the problem is not that Polish works comes to UK or Sweden to work, but you get a problem if they payed less than domestic workers. Therefor it can be important that you have strong unions like in Sweden and that the same collective agreement apply to foreign and domestic work. While at the same time the free movement have great benefits for British and Swedish citizens.
 

Bergslagstroll

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CETA, the trade agreement between EU and Canada have at least been temporarily stopped thanks to the Belgian region of Wallonia.

The Belgian Socialists' fears echo those of anti-globalisation activists, who say Ceta and deals like it give too much power to multinationals - power even to intimidate governments.
There have also been big demonstrations in several EU countries against Ceta and the TTIP trade talks between the EU and the US.

On Sunday, the European Commission presented a new clarification to Wallonia on the mechanism for settling disputes with investors.

The rules for trade arbitration are one of the thorniest issues in the deal.

But Belgium's RTBF news reported (in French) that the latest EU document did not satisfy the Walloon politicians.

Belgium Walloons block key EU Ceta trade deal with Canada - BBC News

Wallonia, the Belgian region taking the lead in its steadfast opposition to CETA, is doing us all a favour. For a start, they are exercising their democratic right to raise concerns about a proposed EU deal. One of the most important issues raised by Wallonia is how CETA would give power to foreign investors to sue governments for huge compensation if democratically agreed decisions to protect citizens or the environment interfere with their profits. Wallonia faces not only substantial financial liabilities, but also a serious impairment to its democratic decision-making powers. It is only normal that the region should have its say in this matter.

https://www.euractiv.com/section/tr...and-on-ceta-is-good-for-europe-and-the-world/
 

german hick

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here in Germany it is discussed quite a lot

I personally have been at a demonstratuion against TTIP and CETA in Berlin with more than 250.000 people - the biggest one ever happened here.

And in my opinion the courts of arbitration are the most evil thing that can happen to us - completely anti democratic and only good for someone who wants money and big companies govern us instead of our elected representatives.
 

Bergslagstroll

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here in Germany it is discussed quite a lot

I personally have been at a demonstratuion against TTIP and CETA in Berlin with more than 250.000 people - the biggest one ever happened here.

And in my opinion the courts of arbitration are the most evil thing that can happen to us - completely anti democratic and only good for someone who wants money and big companies govern us instead of our elected representatives.

Really good that you in Germany discuss the agreements and a demonstration with more than 250 000 people is really great. Sadly, I think you partly have us Swedes to thank for the debate and opposition you have towards TTIP and CETA. Because as I understand it the German people are rightfully angry over how Swedish Vattenfall used ISDS to sue Germany twice for billions of euros.
 

german hick

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Really good that you in Germany discuss the agreements and a demonstration with more than 250 000 people is really great. Sadly, I think you partly have us Swedes to thank for the debate and opposition you have towards TTIP and CETA. Because as I understand it the German people are rightfully angry over how Swedish Vattenfall used ISDS to sue Germany twice for billions of euros.

true, but our RWE and EON did the same - that´s the nature of buisness. I don´t blame the companies trying that, it´s their nature. They are designed to make profit and not to hold up social, environmental or humanitarian values. That´s the main reason to not giving them too much might in our legislative process.
 
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