EU-Canada Trade Agreement 'Celebrated', Text Officially Released; Even Worse Than Feared

from the handy-little-blueprint-for-TAFTA/TTIP dept

Techdirt has been covering the “Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement” (CETA) between the EU and Canada for a while now. Or rather, trying to, given the obsessive secrecy that has surrounded the negotiations, just as it does for TAFTA/TTIP and TPP. However, the agreement’s text has now been officially released (pdf) — on the day that those negotiating it declared it finished. This means that at precisely the moment when the people most impacted get to see what has been agreed to in their name, there is no point in expressing their views, since nothing can be changed. This is the shabby trick that governments routinely pull for these kinds of deals: the public is promised that it will have its say once the final text is available, but when that moment comes, people are informed that obviously no changes can be made since it has already been finalized.

However, in CETA’s case, it’s not quite so simple. During the ceremony marking the end of the negotiations, the leaders of Canada and the EU declared:

Today marks a truly historic moment in the evolution of the Canada-EU relationship as we celebrate the end of negotiations of the Canada-EU Trade Agreement.

Not “sign”, but “celebrate”. That’s because Germany is threatening to withhold its support for CETA, as reported here by The Star:

New doubts about the fate of Canada?s long-sought free-trade deal with the European Union have cast a shadow over a meeting Friday where Prime Minister Stephen Harper and senior EU officials were to celebrate the completion of five years of negotiations.

A day before the Canada-EU summit in Ottawa, Germany signalled it won?t approve the landmark trade pact in its current form because of objections to the investor-protection measures included in the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).

It turns out that CETA contains many other deeply worrying aspects. That’s doubtless why the negotiators were so keen to keep the text secret, but now that we have it, detailed analyses are coming through. The first in-depth look at what’s lurking among CETA’s 1500 pages comes from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA), which has produced a document called “Making Sense of the CETA: An analysis of the final text of the Canada?European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement”. Even that runs to over a hundred pages; what follows are some of the key points that it highlights.

Significantly, CCPA’s analysis begins with the most contentious aspect of CETA, the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) chapter. It’s crucially important not just because Germany is refusing to accept it, but also because it is likely to form the basis of a similar chapter in TAFTA/TTIP — the European Commission included a draft version of the chapter as part of its public consultation on corporate sovereignty, offering it as a blueprint. One of the European Commission’s repeated claims is that it will “fix” ISDS by making it clear that governments always retain the right to regulate, and that corporate sovereignty does not overrule that right. But CCPA’s analysis shows why that is not true in CETA, despite similar claims there:

The ‘right to regulate’ is mentioned three times in the agreement. In the preamble, the parties simply ‘recognize’ that the CETA protects the right to regulate (“RECOGNIZING that the provisions of this Agreement preserve the right to regulate…”), yet the text fails to clearly and unequivocally confirm this right, especially in the investment chapter. The other mentions are to be found in the labour and environment chapters, so that, in effect, the CETA shields the right to regulate from any international obligations to protect labour or the environment but not from all the detailed obligations in the investment chapter. Also in the environment chapter, the right to regulate is limited by formulations which require environmental policies to be implemented ?in a manner consistent with the multilateral environmental agreements to which they are a party and with this Agreement,? meaning that environmental policies have to be consistent with the CETA — not the other way round.

CETA also includes a definition of “investor” that will make it easy for US companies to sue the EU using CETA and “treaty shopping“, just as Philip Morris is suing Australia via its Hong Kong subsidiary:

For the purposes of this definition an ‘enterprise of a Party’ is: (a) an enterprise that is constituted or organised under the laws of that Party and has substantial business activities in the territory of that Party?). The reference to ‘substantial business activities’ is not enough to prevent ‘treaty shopping.’ For example, U.S. investors in Canada would be able to use the CETA investment provisions and ISDS to challenge European state measures.

One major surprise is found in the chapter covering regulation. Like ISDS, this is already a hot issue for TAFTA/TTIP, where many fear that national sovereignty will be sacrificed to the corporate kind. CETA shows another way in which this can happen — and which is likely to be adopted in TAFTA/TTIP as well:

Parties to the agreement have to ensure that the licensing and qualification requirements and procedures are based on particular criteria to preclude regulators from acting in ?an arbitrary manner? (Article 2.1). Specifically, covered regulations will have to be: ?a) clear and transparent; b) objective; c) established in advance and made publicly accessible? (Article 2.2).

Parties have to ensure ?that licensing and qualification procedures are as simple as possible and do not unduly complicate or delay the supply of a service or the pursuit of any other economic activity? (emphasis added) (Article 2.7). Making licensing procedures “as simple as possible” sets an absolute value on the ease with which corporations can get their projects approved to the detriment of all other considerations.

The CCPA report explains how this new requirement could have a major impact on regulation:

If a dispute panel interpreted “objective” to mean “not subjective,” regulations could be overturned if they are based on the regulator’s necessarily subjective balancing of different factors such as public input, the scenic impacts of a development and environmental considerations.

For example:

Dispute panels could determine that public input, environmental assessments and archaeological studies do not constitute a process that is “as simple as possible.”

CETA also provides some hints about the shadowy Regulatory Council that TAFTA/TTIP is likely to set up in order to ensure the convergence of future US and EU regulations. The danger here is that such a council will effectively vet or change new regulations before they are made public, and allow corporations with privileged access to government sources to prepare their lobbying well in advance. Indeed, that’s exactly how CETA’s “Regulatory Co-operation Forum” will work:

Parties will endeavor to share “proposed technical or sanitary and phytosanitary regulations that may have an impact on trade with the other Party at as early a stage as possible so that comments and proposals for amendments may be taken into account.” This means that information on future legislation could be shared with the other Party even before it has been shared with their Parliaments. If that were the case, the other Party could make amendments and comments before the country’s own parliament got their hands on the draft legislation.

These are just a few of the awful things that are starting to crawl out of the CETA text now that it has been exposed to some sunlight. CCPA’s excellent analysis is grim but required reading, not just in order to understand what is in CETA, but also as a taster for some of the bad stuff that is likely to turn up in TAFTA/TTIP too.

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Comments on “EU-Canada Trade Agreement 'Celebrated', Text Officially Released; Even Worse Than Feared”

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Barring massive protests again(hopefully it won’t come to that, but if they didn’t learn their lesson the first time…), it seems the best bet is if Germany is actually refusing to sign due to self-interest(no country gets ahead by binding themselves with corporate sovereignty clauses), and isn’t just trying to use their refusal to bargain for a better position at the table.

Of course, if it’s possible for them to just drop Germany from the ‘agreement’, and assuming Germany doesn’t fall in line should that be threatened, I imagine that will probably be their next step here, in order to cram the ‘agreement’ through before sufficient counter-force can be mobilized.

Anonymous Coward says:

seems to me that where the trying to turn the planet into a giant corporation has failed in the past, it is going to succeed this time, hence the total lack of transparency, making it impossible for anyone other than those included in the negotiations and their lobbyists to have any say. what other reason can there be for keeping everyone except particular industries out of the frame? i’m just waiting now to see how quickly the first country to be bankrupted comes. it wont take long. Monsanto is a likely candidate because of the desire to kill off all the bees and feed us nothing but genetically modified food.
we are definitely heading towards a ‘Matrix’ type world not run by machines though, run by giant companies. the result will be the same though, the total destruction of the Planet, all in the name of profit from control!!

David says:

What happened to democracy?

At some point of time, the processes for decision-making just let the money from corporations route around the public for arriving in the pockets of politicians, and let the decision-making of politicians route around the public.

The idea of most political systems is a representative republic constituted by democratic processes, and there are no politicians available that would represent public interests rather than their own.

So we need to scale up the number of representatives where we get a better ratio of competence to corruptibility.

The extreme case would be a basic democracy where everyone is involved in every decision. That way, corporations need to bribe everyone.

Which is potentially expensive. Obviously, it is also workable or we would not have the advertising industry which basically hands out glass beads to everybody.

But at least then the hoi polloi deserve the consequences of every decision.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: What happened to democracy?

Apathy, most people don’t care what happens in the world unless it affects them personally. That and they foolishly and blindly trust their leaders to be looking out for what is best for the citizens of their country, not just focus only on helping themselves by throwing the country they run under the bus.

gamesmith94134 (profile) says:

Re: growth or grow up
Perhaps, the coming IMF meeting may contemplate such diversion, instead of what capital deposit is. If Ms. Largarde misunderstood the policy in Basel III for basil in her Beef Stroganoff in her French Home Culinary Network; then, we are going to hell now.

It is all business as Usual; that non-elected officials bore no responsibilities on the democracy. TAFTA/TTIP and CETA allow the use prosperity index to raise their equity as double your residence value in few years. If you can’t afford to pay popped tax or utility; considerably, you may earn your first bucket of gold and move on. Perhaps, you would let those, know-how to sell your national reserves at a price that elected can retire earlier and wealthier; because election cost much and it demands a better return if they qualifies tax exemption for the Corporation sovereigns.
Besides, it cut dependency from government; it accumulated and accelerated government debts; so, you can be more independent without social services like medical and education and so on. Aren’t you lucky if you are selected to leave your home with its prosperity index? Growth or grow up…..
Londoner cries, ex-Londoner laugh…….LOL,

David E.H.Smith says:

Re; your comment; ; "... Germany signalled it won’t approve the landmark trade pact in its current form..."

Are the Germans being prudent, , in wanting to wait for The SUPREME COURT of CANADA & the highest court in Germany to make their findings in below:
“The SHAREHOLDERS & Corporations of AMERICA, et al
the harmless NON shareholders”

and, the outcome of “The MERKEL Letter”?
Have your federal representatives willingly provided you with the info?
the harmless non shareholders of Canada, both; Native & non Native, et al.

TPPartnership, CETAgreement, C-CITreaty, et al; More Taxes & Less Services to pay The SHAREHOLDERS (Tribunals).

Are YOU Depriving your Highest Court of the INFO to Decide Against the Global Corporate Economy?
Has Frau Bundaskanzarin Angela Merkel (Germ.) shared the Info with YOU?
by David E.H. Smith

(CAN.)…Therefore, as a consequence of the aforementioned abuses that have been listed in the enclosed research articles & the dire peril that these abuses puts the NON shareholding Canadians in, both; Native & non Native, et al, as an elaborate, ”inhumane”, ”unethical”, “immoral” & probably, criminal, enterprise, the writer humbly asks; under what circumstances would The Court consider the following?

1) Will The Court consider ensuring that any further attempts by off shore enterprises, such as the aforementioned attempts by the global corporate “arrangements”, including
corporate Canada & its associates within the government of Canada, et al, as a “reciprocity pool” of shared “secret decisions” against the non shareholders of Canada, et al,
will be dealt with punitively.

2) And, in the interim, until The Court can make a determination of any wrongful intent, &/or, abuses of the ”arrangements” as a criminal enterprise,
will the open & public Supreme Court of Canada consider
preventing the further use of the non shareholders’ tax dollars from being used to make any, &/or, any more secret decisions against themselves, ie. the NON shareholders.

3) Furthermore, can, or, will The Court consider ordering the return of any & all of the tax dollars that have been used by the government, &/or, corporate Canada & their lawyers, et al, that have been used for the development of the aforementioned “arrangements” of a what The Court may determine to be a criminal enterprise (for examples; a) as a means of using/legitimizing off-shore money, et al, b) laundering money from the proceeds of criminal enterprises, &/or, c) going toward the funding of “criminals”, et al, who may be involved in other criminal, or, unethical, or, inhumane, immoral enterprises),
and thus,
the tax dollars have not been used for the purposes that the taxpayers had intended, such as; for goods, services (particularly to police organizations & judiciaries for their investigation of, not only the aforementioned secret/privileged relationship between corporate Canada via its lobbyists
the executives of the relevant political parties,
but, the alleged wrong doing by others, as well),
programs, health, education, etc. that are consistent with the NON shareholders’ understanding of what “good” government entails
return the tax dollars with punitive penalties paid to the NON shareholding Canadians, both: Native & non Native, et al.

Similarly, given the reckless endangering situation that the government, et al, has placed the NON shareholders in, can, or, will the Court ensure that the necessary funds will be spent for their, the NON shareholders’, intended purposes in order to “guarantee” these services, et al,
consider ordering corporate Canada, its shareholders & their lawyers, advisers & service beneficiaries of the present “arrangements” will be paid with their own funds, prior to presenting their future “adventures”, &/or, “arrangements” to:
A) The Court, &/or, its representatives
and then,
B) the NON shareholders for their consideration, discussions, improvements, &/or, rejections, et al,
in open forums that have eliminated the fear of recriminations, retributions, etc. by corporate Canada, its shareholders, The Tribunals, et al.

4 A) And, less one forgets that the revelation of the present perilous International treaties/”arrangements” began with the regard for the rights of Native Canadians as per the Treaties/”arrangements” that corporate Canada & the Government of Canada have “foisted” upon Native Canadians who have been deliberately deprived of the due diligence information, such as the information in The W.A.D. Accord, et al,

I am compelled to ask The Court:
will the Court consider whether, or, not The Court’s recent “Tsilhqot’in Decision”, makes
it easier for corporate Canada, its global economic associates, their shareholders, et al, to sue the Tsilhqot’in First Nation & other Native communities in Canada
and thereby, to seek financial relief from the harmless NON shareholding, non Native Canadians via the Government of Canada? And, will The Court consider preventing
any unrelated hardship to the NON shareholders as a consequence of the creation of the
aforementioned Tribunals & corporate Canada & its associates intent to obtain the unencumbered access to the natural resources that are continuing to be found in Canada & irrespective of Native title to these lands & its resources?

B) And, similarly, does the plan espoused by the American born Tom Eugene Flanagan which would enable First Nations communities to become municipalities, also make it easier for corporate Canada, its associates, et al, to sue Native communities, or, seek remedies from the Government of Canada (ie. from the NON shareholders) for any encumbrances that the new, Native municipalities, et al, might impose upon the development, &/or, access to the aforementioned natural resources, etc.?

(And, regarding the settlement of Native land claims that are presently before Canadian courts, & will continue to be before the courts for some time, the following question can help The Court a great deal in these deliberations, and that is; how were Europeans convinced to settle in North America in the first place & in particular, the land that became known as Canada?)

5) Therefore, can I only hope that given the enclosed information about the abuse, the potential for abuse & the intent of the aforementioned Tribunals which is:
A) to abuse & to limit The Court’s ability to hear…

To SHARE Information & Questions re; The Relationship between Human
(Nature) Rights & Economics in 1) the C-CI Treaty, the CET Agreement, TPP, et al, and 2) Native Canadian Treaties via The WAD Accord,
see; The Supreme Court of Canada.
“The MERKEL Letter”; To Sue, or, Be Sued?
Re; The European Union – Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)
and The W.A.D. Accord & Its Compensation.
What the TREATY of VERSAILLES was to the 20th century PALES in COMPARISON to the TPP, CETA, C-CIT, NAFTA, et al, in the 21st.

In the matter of the C.E.T.A. and The W.A.D. Accord (THE ACCORD),
as corporate Germany, and/or, the Government of Germany may be in the process of being:
1) misled,
2) misinformed,
3) deliberately deprived of relevant due diligence information, et al, by corporate Canada,

and/or, the Government of Canada
1) the risks,
2) the liabilities,
3) the responsibilities
4) et al,

that corporate Canada, and/or, the Government of Canada may be attempting to:
1) avoid paying,
2) dilute the amount of,
3) etc.,
of its/their contribution(s) to The Compensation that is embodied in THE ACCORD (aka; “The Australian Question”) by way of the design, the development and the
ratification of THE AGREEMENT and its Tribunals(s),


as the attempts at the aforementioned
“avoiding”, and/or, the “diluting” may be construed as acts
of guilt of, but, not limited to:
1) corporate Canada,
2) the Government of Canada,
3) the other signatories to THE AGREEMENT,
5) et al,

raises the due diligence questions regarding the charges against:
1) corporate Canada,
2)the Government of Canada,

for deliberately failing to provide (the) due diligence information to its (THE) ASSOCIATES

page 1 of 3


2) raises the due diligence questions regarding the MUTUAL charges against all of THE ASSOCIATES to THE AGREEMENT, for deliberately failing to provide (the) due diligence information regarding THE ACCORD and The Compensation to THE SHAREHOLDERS, and/or, THE POTENTIAL SHAREHOLDERS,
and thereby,

THE SIGNATORIES to THE AGREEMENT and THE ASSOCIATES are in the process of creating and developing an ENTERPRISE for purposes, but, not limited to:
A) defrauding,
B) manipulating the value of Initial Public Offerings (IPOs), stocks, and/or, other financial
instruments that may be a product of THE ENTERPRISE and its subsequent ventures,
C) insider trading
D) racketeering
E) et al,
as a consequence of the creation and the development of the new, secret and superseding jurisdiction by THE ASSOCIATES, and, thus, the creation of the “de facto”
jurisdiction, and the creation of THE TRIBUNAL(s) in order to:
B) the Government Signatories to THE AGREEMENT,
C) the proceeds of the alleged criminal ENTERPRISE
D) et al,

by preventing:
A) investigations,
B) evidence and testimony,
C) findings, decisions,
determinations, and/or, conclusions
D) et al,

from being:
A) conducted,
B) disclosed, and/or, made public,
and thereby, render any, and all, judgements, and findings by the courts of lesser, and/or,
“non” jurisdictions against:
A) THE ASSOCIATES, and/or, their representatives,
C) the subsequent, and/or, associated ventures, et al,
D) the Government Signatories to THE AGREEMENT,

to be; moot, null, void, and/or, without merit,
and thus,
render any actions against the aforementioned ASSOCIATES, et al, unenforceable
provide the basis for “net” counter-suits against THE NON SHAREHOLDERS by way of the Governments of THE NON SHAREHOLDERS, that is to say the Government of Canada, et al,

page 2 of 3 and

2) SECRETLY ADJUDICATE, determine and enforce “net” decisions against THE NON SHAREHOLDERS
and the lesser provincial/state and municipal governments via the agreeable SIGNATORY Governments (that is to say; The
Government of Canada, et al) by way of:
A) punitive; fines, penalties,
and/or, damages,
B) trade sanctions
C) et al,
for depriving THE ASSOCIATES of the profits that could be derived as a consequence of the unimpeded, and/or, unencumbered development of the ventures of THE ASSOCIATES and THE ENTERPRISE,
and, as a consequence of the
aforementioned actions, and others,
I am compelled to inform you of this notification.

Other charges that have been raised against:
1) THE ASSOCIATES, and/or, their representatives,
3) the subsequent, and/or, associated ventures, et al,
4) the Government Signatories to THE AGREEMENT
5) et al,
1) deliberate ignorance,
2) malicious intent,
3) depraved indifference,
4) reckless endangerment
5) et al.

In conclusion, as the Government of Germany has publicly acknowledged its concern about the “Investor-State Dispute Settlement” (I.S.D.S.) in THE AGREEMENT, I would ask you, Frau Bundaskanzarin Merkel, if you might be amenable to discussing the merits of enjoining in a suit against:
1) corporate Canada,
2) the Government of Canada
3) et al?


David E.H. Smith
– Researcher
– “Qui tam…”
page 3 of 3

For more Information & Questions re; The Relationship between Human (Nature) Rights & Economics by way of the C-CI Treaty, the CET Agreement,
TPP, et al, and The WAD Accord

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Forgetfulness, I am sure

Oh? You’ll need to support this assertion. I rarely see Techdirt identifying the political bent of anything, right or left, except when that bent is already a part of the story.

Also, the left-right spectrum is pretty much irrelevant to this (as it’s pretty much irrelevant to anything). The real divide is between the corporatists and the non-corporatists — and corporatism has no right/left bias. You find it on both sides of the aisle.

GEMont (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Nah. Its just a really big country and the Chinese could not buy it all (they spent too much of their money financing the American Christian War on Muslims), so Harper needs a number of other buyers in order to finalize the whole deal before he gets thrown out of office.

Hopefully, Canadians will now realize what an asshole the man is and toss him out of office immediately.

I think he represents a really good reason to bring back tar and feathering.

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