17 Oct 2014
IN-DEPTH ANALYSIS: EU/CANADA COMPREHENSIVE ECONOMIC TRADE AGREEMENTBrussels Daily
The Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada, on which negotiations were concluded at the EU-Canada Summit in Ottawa on 26 September 2014, will be a ‘first’ in many areas. The agreement will be the EU’s first with another highly industrialised country to facilitate market access for goods, services and investment by abolishing almost all tariffs and reducing a wide array of non-tariff barriers. CETA is also the first agreement to have been negotiated with a sound chapter on investment protection, (including Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions) – an area that is, since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, an EU competence. The EU and Canada have agreed to improve regulatory cooperation without compromising existing safety standards, and CETA includes protection for more than 145 food products with geographical indications (GIs). The agreement preserves the governments’ right to regulate in the public interest.
The European Parliament will be asked to give its consent to this agreement and to the parallel Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) – a process that is likely to take two years. This will give the Parliament sufficient time to weigh potential public concerns – which today are focussed principally on trade and investment negotiations with the US, but may spill over onto this agreement with Canada.