EU-Canada Trade Deal Still Struggling, As Romania And Belgium Say They Won't/Can't Ratify Treaty

from the it-ain't-over-yet dept

Alongside the better-known trade deals that aren't really trade deals, TPP and TAFTA/TTIP, the smaller one between the European Union and Canada, CETA, is still trapped in a strange kind of political limbo. It was "celebrated" way back in October 2014, and has been officially in the "legal scrubbing" phase where the text is tidied up and translated into all the relevant languages (lots of them for the EU). Cleverly, the EU has used this period to sneak in the "lipstick on a pig" version of corporate sovereignty in an attempt to head off revolts among EU nations worried about growing public resistance to the idea. But just when the European Commission thought it had everything nicely sewn up, this happens:

Romania will not ratify the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada which was concluded in 2014, as an angry reaction to the refusal by Ottawa to lift the visa requirement of its nationals, but also for the lack of EU solidarity for solving the issue.
As EurActiv explains, Romania is upset because Canada is requiring Romanian (and Bulgarian) citizens to obtain a visa before visiting Canada, whereas everyone else in the EU can get in without one. As a result:
A Romanian government official who asked not to be named said that Romania would "veto" the CETA ratification.

Normally the ratification of CETA should conclude by the end of 2016 or 2017. Romania however will not ratify the agreement, EurActiv was told.
If that were the only problem with ratifying CETA, it might be possible to resolve with some judicious arm-twisting by the European Commission. But it's not, because SputnikNews is reporting the following:
The government of the French-speaking Belgian region of Wallonia has refused to ratify the EU-Canada free trade agreement approved by the Belgian cabinet, the region's minister-president said.
Belgium may be a fairly small country, and Wallonia an even smaller part of it, but if the regional government doesn't agree, it would seem that Belgium can't ratify CETA, and without Belgium's OK, the whole CETA agreement might unravel. In truth, nobody really knows -- and that's why these unexpected developments are so worrying for the European Commission. It is uncharted legal territory for EU countries like Romania and Belgium to be unwilling or unable to ratify international trade agreements the Commission has negotiated. One thing is certain: CETA ain't over until it's really, absolutely, definitively over. Until then, grab the popcorn.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Apr 2016 @ 4:03am

    Belgium's inability to ratify doesn't really signify anything, unfortunately. Belgium is a political basket case at the moment. It spent over a year without a government after the 2010 elections, because all of the political parties in the country despise each other.

    Similarly, Romania is presumably only holding out due to the visa thing, rather than their politicians actually doing their jobs and voting against bad laws...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Call me Al, 19 Apr 2016 @ 5:12am

      Re:

      What I love about Belgium in 2010 is everything just carried on. At least to outside observers there wasn't an enormous crisis.

      Sometimes I think it would be wonderful if an elected government said "Ok... we'll not going to mess about with things for a year and see how things go."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 Apr 2016 @ 5:54am

        Re: Re:

        Parliamentary systems tend to work like that, ha. Here in the states we should at least abolish the senate

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Wendy Cockcroft, 20 Apr 2016 @ 5:37am

        Re: Re:

        What elected officials mostly do in Parliament, Congress, or whatever you call it where you are, is vote on laws. The people who do the actual governing are the civil servants paid to carry out the requirements of the laws passed by the politicians. This filters down the chain of authority to assorted functionaries including local government and the police, depending on the scope of the law.

        Government is made of more than politicians, is what I'm saying. So if Parliament, Congress, or whatever you call it got hit by a meteor, life would carry on as normal until the laws about providing funding, etc., ran out. Of course, this would not be allowed to happen; the resulting vacuum would have to be filled. Elections would take place and the new crop of politicians would be seated somewhere else, but the overall disruption wouldn't be as catastrophic as you think.

        Remember when the US Congress shut down? Funding ran out for various departments because the laws that provided for those funds ran out.

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        • icon
          Cerberus (profile), 21 Apr 2016 @ 8:55am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I've never heard of laws "running out" in Europe. Funding normally doesn't run out if parliament is slow to act or something. It's just harder to *change* anything if parliament does nothing.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Richard (profile), 19 Apr 2016 @ 5:40am

    Of course

    Of course these "trade" deals are not really needed for the corporates to pursue a case. Other existing treaties can be enough - look at the Yukos case for example.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Apr 2016 @ 7:46am

    Dutch citizens are also considering a new referendum to block any 'trade' agreement that includes any kind of ISDS

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Apr 2016 @ 7:57am

    at least there appears to be some countries that have balls and wont allow themselves or their citizens to be totally exploited, just because ass holes in the European Commission tells them to! and remember, the European Commission isn't even an EU organised or official body, if i remember correctly, and is like the USTC, self appointed, full of piss and importance but only because they get big bucks in 'fees' for doing the lobbying! cant understand why both bodies aren't eliminated!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Cerberus (profile), 21 Apr 2016 @ 8:59am

      Re:

      Mmm that's not entirely true: the Commission is officially appointed by the European Parliament. Otherwise I agree with you: the problem is that they are too far removed from any electorate to listen to what actual citizens want. That's the main problem with the EU: they do many good things, but also some bad things, and there is a "democratic hiatus" in some regards.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    linda kaucher, 19 Apr 2016 @ 8:54am

    Member states parliaments not ratifying is kind of a problem to actually getting the thing in place proper, but countries have taken a long time to ratify other agreements, in fact sometimes never doing so.

    Its not too big a problem though because the EU 'provisionally' implements them anyway - and has no procedure for backtracking on that provisional inmplementation!

    What we want/need is for one parliament that is able to do so - national or subnational - to exercise its veto proper and stop the agreement.

    UK 'parliamentary procedures' do not allow the UK parliament to do that by the way.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Apr 2016 @ 10:02am

    Romania

    Not an EU member state at this time.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Apr 2016 @ 10:26am

      Re: Romania

      Romania has been a member since 2007. And if it wasn't a member, then there wouldn't be any talk of ratifying or not ratifying CETA.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Apr 2016 @ 11:01am

    Thank you Romania and Belgium. I don't care why you are saying no to the deal but again, Thank you.

    From a Canadian.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David E.H. Smith, 20 Apr 2016 @ 1:58am

    The ‘EMPIRE’* STRIKES BACK against Huge Indirect Taxes (*the ‘harmless’ citizens of the Anti-Global Corporate Economy)?

    CETA, TTIP, TPP & the other Global Corporate treaties/'arrangements'; Japan; ‘The Submission’ to The Supreme Court of Canada paves the way for Expanding & Improving the basis of the Yamada led ‘Sword & Shield’ Counter-attack Suit against the Japanese gov’t., Corporates America & Canada, or, their ‘harmless’ citizens, et al. TPP & other Global Corporate Treaties/’Arrangements’ signatory Gov’ts. in Conflict of Interest. Potential Investors look to Courts & elsewhere, not Trade Tribunals.

    CETA, TPP, et al, Just in Time to protect Monsanto’s carcinogenic ‘Round Up’ Herbicide & other Toxic products & Foods; the Future of ‘Legal’ Poisoning of harmless Customers starts NOW. Taxes Cut as Gov’ts pass Lawsuit Costs to harmless citizens?

    If the 'Agreements' are anything other than a schedule of reducing tariffs then it’s not about ‘Free’ Trade but ‘Enslaving’ Trade?

    Will Citizens of the Global Corporate economy be able to balance the potential for Employment versus the amounts they will have to Pay for Costs of ‘Trade’ Tribunals’ Punitive Penalties (Indirect Tax), etc.?

    Under what circumstances will China (BRICS), et al, Consider Funding Anti-TPP Investment Litigation?

    (CAN.) – The TPP & the other global corporate treaties/’arrangements’ provides that the signatory governments will, not only, be no longer able to sue corporations for not adhering to the laws of their host countries & thereby, replace the desire of American lead corporations for tort reform with tort abolishment, but the TPP will also place the signatory governments in positions of a conflict of interest in regard to their own harmless citizens who are being forced to find their own, non-governmental means of enforcing existing & future laws that have been passed by way of:
    1) the secrecy of unethical lobbyists for the benefits of their wealthy corporation clients & their shareholders, &/or, 2) the ethical desire to compete with other countries by passing laws that protect & enhance the well-being of its citizens regarding their health care, education, worker safety, environment, transfer payments, etc.

    However, it seems that it is only recently that the harmless citizens of Japan are learning that due to Corporate Canada’s, &/or, the government of Canada’s, anxious desire to impress its TPP corporate associates, &/or, the citizens of Japan, et al, with:
    1) its unencumbered access to the natural resources that are continuing to be discovered in Canada,
    2) its ability to ‘manage’ Native Canadians in regard to accessing the aforementioned natural resources in Canada & 3) et al,
    Corporate Canada, &/or, the Canadian government has misinformed its corporate associates & deprived its corporate associates of due diligence information (eg. the Canadian government, et al, is continuing to deprive Native Canadians, et al, of the information & questions in The W.A.D. Accord), which will greatly affect the costs of developing the aforementioned natural resources, and thus, as a consequence of Corporate Canada’s, &/or, the Canadian government’s actions it has given the harmless citizens of Japan, et al, the basis for:
    1) not only, suing Corporate Canada, &/or, the government of Canada, via the Canadian government, but for: 2) also expanding & improving upon Mr. Yamada’s existing suit against the Japanese government, &/or, Corporate Japan, et al, as well.

    And, thus, Corporate Canada, via their lobbyists to the Canadian government, are most anxious to escape from their liabilities by a rapid ratification of the TPP, et al.

    Therefore, the Japanese group, led by Mr. Masahiko Yamada, who are suing their government regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership on behalf of themselves & the citizens of Japan, might seriously consider suing Corporate Canada, in order to ensure that they, the harmless citizens, do not end up having to ‘contribute’ any of their tax dollars to pay for The Compensation in The W.A.D. Accord, et al, & thereby, prevent Corporate Canada from escaping its liabilities by way of the ratification of the TPP, et al.

    Furthermore, by suing Corporate Canada &/or, the government of Canada, by Mr. Yamada’s group, would enable the harmless citizens of Japan as a ‘sword’ & a ‘shield’ to prevent the government of Japan from using any of tax dollars of the harmless citizens of Japan to further punish the harmless citizens, ie. the ‘shield’ & to provide the monies necessary from the punitive damages, on an on-going basis, to continue to fight the future capricious forays & assaults against the harmless citizens’ democracy and counteract the damages to it, etc. caused by Corporate Japan, the government of Japan, et al, ie. the ‘sword’.

    Do the other signatories of the global corporate treaties/’arrangements’ understand how corporate Canada (Corp. Can. East; Liberals & Trudeau and Corp. Can. West; Conservatives & Harper) is continuing to try & avoid its liabilities from its information deprivation (eg. The W.A.D. Accord & The MERKEL {Chancellor of Germany} Letter) & trying to pass its liabilities on to its global corporate associates, their citizens and the citizens of Canada?

    Please see the reference material below:

    ‘The Submission’ to The Supreme Court of Canada: ‘The SHAREHOLDERS & Corporations of JAPAN, America, China, Canada, the EU, the Trans-Pacific nations, et al, vs. the (harmless) Canadian NON shareholders, both; Native & non Native, et al’ (see; davidehsmith.wordpress.com)
    which includes, amongst other considerations: 1) The W.A.D. Accord, 2) ‘The MERKEL (Chancellor of Germany) Letter; To Sue, or, Be Sued?’ & 3) et al.

    ‘The Submission also considers, amongst other consideration: 1) what is a ‘good corporate citizen’ & 2) how to make those corporations that are not good corporate citizens conform, or, make the corporations persona non grata.

    The letter to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, ‘Prime Minister Abe; You’ve been Served with; The NOTIFICATION of Pre-existing CHALLENGE to The TPP’, was sent separately.
    Please also see; ‘The Basis for Litigation & Litigation Funders; Suing the Global Corporate Economy’.
    ***
    Mr. Yamada & the citizens of Japan, I look forward to reading about your thoughts, your questions, your feelings, your improvements, etc., regarding the enclosed.
    If you should have any questions, or, problems with the enclosed questions & information, &/or, any other related material, I can be contacted via davidehsmith.wordpress.com

    David E.H. Smith
    - Researcher
    - 'Qui tam...'

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2016 @ 6:34am

    Romania is a great exporter of beggars
    ask Sweden!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Dave, 19 Oct 2016 @ 3:01pm

    NoCanada

    CETA and any other trade agreement with Canada should be blocked and I am posting this everywhere I can because Ontario Canada is absolutely a terrible place to do business. As a US based company doing business with Canada under our NAFTA trade agreement, I have found Canada is a terrible country to do business with, particularly the largest province Ontario.

    We have found they do not enforce their laws, we have experience with businesses in Ontario Canada receiving stolen goods, selling stolen goods across border into US. Local police had been advised of this business activity by other businesses in Ontario area, but did nothing about it. So this Canadian criminal enterprise got emboldened by lack of law enforcement and expanded their operation into including wire fraud. Report fraud to RCMP, no response. Report fraud to Canadian Antifraud Division, no response (far as we are concerned Canada's "anti-fraud" agencies are themselves a fraud, doing absolutely nothing at all, don't even respond to complaints and reports of fraud, total joke.) Report theft and fraud to local police, they say to contact the regional anti-fraud. Contact regional anti-fraud, they say contact local police. Tell them local police say to contact them, they say the issue is a contract issue and to pursue in court. How absurd, of course there is a contract, the contract was made under false pretenses which is the basis of the fraud. Contact Ontario provincial government, office of Kathleen Wynne, no response. Sent certified mail to follow up, still no response.

    Canadian authorities in our experience are dumb, ignorant, lazy, pro Canada-meaning they would rather support and enable Canadian criminal activity than enforce laws for outsiders. In general we find Canada is ripe for widespread fraudulent activity. We finally got one reply from local anti-fraud division after threatening to sue Canada under NAFTA trade agreement, they said it is at least 6 months before they can begin their investigation into fraud because they are so backed up with investigations. So it seems fraud is rampant in Canada and the laws most definitely are not being enforced.

    DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH CANADA IF YOU ARE OUTSIDE THE COUNTRY. EVEN OUR CANADIAN ATTORNEY SAYS WHITE COLLAR CRIME LIKE FRAUD AND WIRE FRAUD ARE VERY UNLIKELY TO BE HANDLED. ONTARIO CANADA IS PARTICULARLY BAD. CANADA IS TERRIBLE TO DO BUSINESS WITH, FIND ANOTHER RELIABLE COUNTRY. SEEMS LIKE CANADA IS POISED TO BE THE NIGERIA OR CHINA FRAUD EQUIVALENT OF NORTH AMERICA. HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE GOVERNMENT ENABLING AND ENCOURAGING FRAUDULENT ACTIVITY WITH LITTLE RECOURSE FOR OUT OF COUNTRY BUSINESSES.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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