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Cyndee Todgham Cherniak

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Susan Kohn Ross


Andrew Hudson

The Latest EU Demand in Canada-EU CETA Talks Relates to Canada's Oil Sands

Trade Lawyers Blog has posted a number of postings about the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (Canada-EU CETA) during the last week. This posting relates to the latest EU demand that Canada must become more engaged in the climate change activities and Canada's oil sands projects are a target. A Financial Post article dated April 22, 2010 reports:

"... Greek lawmaker Kriton Arsenis asked EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, this week to link trade cooperation with Canada to its climate strategy and its use of oil sands.

"It would be unacceptable not to place the environmental consequences of tar sands oil extraction on the negotiating table," Mr. Arsenis said in a statement. "This activity is the reason why Canada doesn't honour its international commitments on climate change."

Read more:

If the negotiations go down this road, the EU negotiators will be moving away from the negotiation of a free trade agreement. Any threats of imposition of strict domestic EU standards that would impact on Canada's oil sands projects in order to force change in Canada is outside the realm of a free trade agreement. Any demands that Canada change its domestic laws for these purposes is not necessary for the formation of a Canada-EU free trade area and, therefore, are arguably contrary to Article XXIV of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, 1994. The EU negotiators should take a look at the Appellate Body decision (and the DSB Panel decsion) in Turkey — Restrictions on Imports of Textile and Clothing Products, WT/DS34.

Therefore, it is unacceptable to place oil sands extraction on the Canada-EU CETA negotiating table. The EU should not use the pretext of bilateral market access/free trade negotiations to push its climate change agenda. It is not the correct forum.


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