European Commission Admits Defeat In Trying To Improve Corporate Sovereignty Chapter In CETA

from the now-what? dept

The excitement over the mad dash to finish TPP -- and the failure to do so -- has rather obscured the other so-called trade deals currently being negotiated, such as TAFTA/TTIP and the one between the EU and Canada, CETA. As Techdirt has reported, CETA is even further along than TPP, in what is known as the "legal scrub" phase when the lawyers tweak the agreed text in an attempt to catch drafting errors or other infelicities. Back in June, the EU commissioner responsible for trade and trade agreements, Cecilia Malmström, told Politico.eu that CETA "could be done by the end of July". That obviously didn't happen, or we would presumably have heard about it by now. The Politico.eu article gives a clue as to why not:

Malmström acknowledged that the most delicate part of the legal scrubbing, the clauses about the investor state dispute settlement, also referred to as ISDS, still remain. "We haven't started with that yet," she said, arguing that only three pages of the treaty deals with the sensitive issue, whereas "there are 1597 pages talking about other things."
So the festering wound that is corporate sovereignty, formally "investor-state dispute settlement" (ISDS), could well be the problem here. Back in March of this year, on the subject of corporate sovereignty in CETA, Malmström said:
We will propose any further changes [in ISDS] we collectively agree on in TTIP to the Canadian government.
This promise seems to have been based on the optimistic idea that the European Commission would actually be able to come up with some improvements to ISDS in the wake of its massive rejection by the public in the Commission's consultation on the subject. It's true that Malmström went on to present some very vague ideas about ways in which corporate sovereignty could be "improved", but so far these have not been turned into concrete proposals that could be discussed with the Canadian government.

Given that failure, it should perhaps come as no surprise that Zeit Online is reporting (original in German) that Malmström now has no plans to try to change CETA for the better before it is signed, merely saying that afterwards there will be a "check" on the ISDS mechanism -- a worthless promise, since at that point Canada will have zero reason to make any concessions.

But signing CETA with the current corporate sovereignty chapter is a big problem. CETA's ISDS is actually worse than previous approaches, despite repeated claims to the contrary by the European Commission. But by way of consolation, leaving it untouched may also make getting CETA passed much harder. As we wrote in February, there are some indications that German's Chancellor, Angela Merkel, is not happy about the current ISDS chapter in CETA, while the French government has said that if the ISDS chapter is not re-written, France will not ratify the treaty.

Similarly, in a non-binding but significant set of recommendations to the European Commission regarding TTIP, the European Parliament said that ISDS must be replaced with "a new system for resolving disputes between investors and states which is subject to democratic principles and scrutiny" -- hinting that, without such a new system, it would vote against TTIP. If that is its position on TTIP, it would make no sense not to apply it to CETA, too: since US companies will be able to use their Canadian subsidiaries to sue the EU by invoking CETA's corporate sovereignty chapter, a bad ISDS in CETA would undermine a "better" one in TTIP.

Of course, politicians are notoriously fickle, so it's by no means certain that national governments and the European Parliament will stick to these stated positions when it comes to the actual votes for CETA and TAFTA/TTIP. But there's no doubt that the European Commission's failure to come up with even the mildest of face-saving changes to CETA's corporate sovereignty provisions has just made the task of pushing the deals through a little bit harder.

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Filed Under: ceclia malmstrom, ceta, corporate sovereignty, eu, isds, tafta, tpp, ttip


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  1. identicon
    David E.H. Smith, 5 Sep 2015 @ 2:31am

    The CETA, TPP ELECTION; Canada 2015;

    Conservatives, NDP, Liberals, Support Corporate Canada’s Punishing the harmless voters, both Native & non Native (& citizens of TPP) by way of SECRET TPP, et al, Tribunals’ Punitive Penalties, Fines, Costs & Awards.
    GREENs Against TPP & other Global Corporate Treaties/’Arrangements’ & Clauses Giving Power to Global Corporate Economy to Make Secret Changes and Any & All Discretionary $elf-Improvement$ without Notification, Discussion & Approval and at Any Time; ie. ’Oh, & by the Way…’ clauses.
    TRUE: X , or, False: ___.

    Corporate Canada’s Traditional, BIG 3 Parties, NDP, LIBs, CONs, Desperate for Superseding Global Corporate Treaties/’Arrangements’ to Wipe Out Native Canadian, et al, ‘Gains; Only GREEN Party Standing Up Against Global Corporate Economy’s Insider Trading & SECRET ‘Death-Star-Chamber’ ISDS Tribunals, et al?
    Can the Voters make the DISTINCTION between; the bullying politicians, both; Native & non Native, who need to continue to Deprive their members of the Information (eg. The WAD Accord’s Compensation)& to Punish those who have been Deprived of the Info and those who need to Share the Info in order to protect the Human Rights of Unborn Native Canadians, et al? Corporate Canada’s Big 3 Parties do NOT want YOU to make the DISTINCTION.

    Corporate ‘U.S.’ is desperate to Legitimize & Globalize (TPP/TTIP/CETA) ‘Full Invasion’; HSBC’s money laundering, Enron’s insider trading, Chase Bank’s fraud, etc. after its 2008 ‘Tactical Probe’ into Deregulation & Buying Short on Designer Meltdown leads to Global Recession, but, Non-Guilty. Corporate Canada & its Traditional Big 3 Political Parties are Anxious to increase its play time under the ‘skirts’ of Corporate U.S. in the International Economic Glitter Game.

    The Traditional Big 3 Parties vs. GREENs & Quebec;ANTI-Globalists (GREENs) PROHIBITED from Debating TPP, et al, in Corporate Canada’s Election ‘Debates’. For 'NO' to Global Treaties/”Arrangements’ just VOTE for the GREEN Party’ Canada’s Big 3 Traditional Parties tell Voters.

    How long have Global Corporate Associates been ‘Passing’ Legislation in Anticipation of Suing Once Ratified? ‘Trickle’ Up & Out Economics.

    After New Zealand’s PM admitted that medicines will cost more due to the TPP, have the citizens of New Zealand & TPP, noticed PM Harper cuts funding for Canadian health care by $36 million & unchallenged by other parties, exacerbation leading to privatizing health care, etc. to pay TPP penalties to Global Corporate Assocs.

    TPP nations, et al, need ‘good corporate citizens’ that respect our legislation & need to ‘out’ bad corporate voters via shareholder meetings; ‘persona non grata’?
    Americans, Japanese, et al, look forward to working with Savvy Slave Trading Malaysians & Slick Cultural ‘Genociding’ Canadians. ‘But, we didn’t know’.
    Traditional Canadian Parties Demanding Supplicance to Corporate Canada & its Global Corporate Assocs. is an unholy sin?

    Will Pope Francis & other leaders Intercede with prayer against PM Harper, Corporate Canada, The Canadian Establishment, et al, for Continuing to Blame & Punish those who are continuing to be Deprived of the Due Diligence Info and Continuing its Cultural Genocide.

    CUTTING the FUNDING to Native Canadians, et al, is GREAT
    for Corporate Canada's Conservatives, NDP & Liberals Pro-TPP & other Global Corporate Treaties/'Arrangements',
    as it allows them to pay & reward themselves by way the Secret 'Trade' Treaties' Tribunals without having to take yet another exacerbating & very noticeable $36 million cut out of the 'soon' to be privatized of health care, post-secondary education, et al.
    by David E.H. Smith, ‘Qui tam…’
    *** FULL Article, see; davidehsmith.wordpress.com
    *** Please consider sharing the enclosed information & questions with 10 friends who will share it with 10 others...

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