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The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, also known as the CETA, the Canada / EU treaty which was just freshly negotiated, has been receiving controversial news lately. According to the European Commission, this agreement would open up business opportunities for EU firms in Canada as well as Jobs in Europe.
If CETA was implemented, this will take away custom duties, remove limitations to public contracts, make available services market, and make it possible to predict conditions for the investors. Moreover, its application will come with the understanding that Europe’s standards will still be followed.
Although it looked like this was a good deal as what the European Commission claims, some were not convinced by it. Those who were against it took the matter to Germany’s top court. One of their representatives said that they are not against free-trade but the CETA agreement undermines democracy. The plaintiffs claim that CETA bypasses parliament. They also refuse the treaty on the grounds that it will render the European principle of preventing a product from being sold unless until this was proven safe ineffective, contrary to what the European Commission’s statement that this would in fact support current standards.
Much to the dismay of the plaintiffs, the court gave CETA the green light instead. This is expected to be signed in the coming EU-Canada Summit which will be held on October 27-28. This will then have to go through ratification by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union. Paris and Berlin are already putting pressure on the European Commission which may force them to have all the 28 EU member states ratify the agreement.
European critics agree with the plaintiffs – they say that CETA should not push through on since this has the potential to ruin current regulations on environmental protection, workers’ rights, and on health and safety.