Does Angela Merkel Want To Renegotiate The Corporate Sovereignty Chapter In EU-Canada Trade Agreement?
from the that-would-be-big dept
German chancellor Angela Merkel will be in Ottawa for a visit on Monday, but she may not be bringing the news [Canadian Prime Minister] Stephen Harper wants to hear when it comes to the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).No source is given for that claim, but the following explanation is offered:
That's because the German government wants to reopen CETA and amend the investor-state dispute settlement [ISDS] mechanism.
Merkel likely does not have an ideological problem with bestowing corporations with the hammer of the investor-state provision, but the political reality is that her Christian Democrats have 311 seats in the Bundestag and need the support of the 193 Social Democrats in that legislature to maintain her 'grand coalition' government. Her minister of economy is a Social Democrat and that party is very clear in its opposition to investor-state. Last year, that party's convention passed a resolution against investor-state.In other words, Merkel needs to keep her Social Democrat coalition partners happy if CETA and TTIP are to pass in the national vote that will be held at some point. That impacts CETA, because last month the same Social Democrat Minister of the Economy and Energy made a joint declaration with his French counterpart in which they said they wished to examine "all the options for changing" the ISDS chapter in CETA (original in French). The Huffington Post article also notes that what happens with CETA has big implications for TAFTA/TTIP:
Beyond the challenge of coalition politics for Merkel, she also needs to contend with an electorate that may not have paid too much attention to a 'free trade' agreement with Canada, but is very attentive -- and critical -- of the European Union's current negotiations with the United States on another 'free trade' deal called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). If Merkel agrees to a corporate rights provision in CETA, voters in Germany know that the same powers would be extended to U.S. corporations too.If Merkel is indeed beginning to worry about the huge backlash in Germany against TTIP thanks to the corporate sovereignty provision it contains -- the main bone of contention for many people -- she knows that she must also deal with it in CETA, too. That would make a request to open up the ISDS section at least plausible, even if it would be pretty dramatic at this late stage, especially given statements by the Canadian Prime Minister that CETA's ISDS is non-negotiable. However, Harper has a general election coming up in October this year, and might prefer to accept CETA without corporate sovereignty rather than risk losing the political prize of a trade agreement with Europe altogether by refusing to renegotiate on this critical point.
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