Contributing Lawyers

Canada

Cyndee Todgham Cherniak

United States

Susan Kohn Ross

Australia

Andrew Hudson



There Is More Than A Volcanic Ash Cloud Hanging Over the Canada-EU CETA Negotiations

During the week of April 19, 2010, Canada and the EU scheduled the third round of negotiations of the Canada- European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) in Ottawa, Canada. On April 20, 2010, Canada's International Trade Minister Van Loan announced that much of the week's negotiation activities were to be completed by teleconference due to the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud's disruption of air travel. please go to the following link to read the press release - http://www.international.gc.ca/media_commerce/comm/news-communiques/2010/138.aspx?lang=eng

Another important action happened on April 19/20, 2010. A version of the draft EU negotiating text (let's call it the EU demands) was leaked by the Trade Justice Network. Please go to the following link to obtain the draft EU negotiating texts of the Canada-EU CETA - http://www.tradejustice.ca/tiki-index.php

The leaked documents include the chapters or parts of the chapters on (1) market access for goods, (2) market access for services and investment, (3) government procurement, (4) intellectual property, (5) dispute settlement, (6) customs procedures and rules of origin, (7) telecommunications, (8) trade remedies, (9) technical barriers to trade, etc.

What is most striking from the leaked draft negotiating texts is that sensitive areas are on the table --- and, we should have expected this. The EU negotiating team is taking direct aim to dismantle Canada's supply management programs for farmers, including the Canada Wheat Board. The EU is also requiring provinces make real and significant commitments to open the procurement markets/opportunities to EU companies. The EU is requesting/demanding significant changes to Canadian telecommunications laws to open the Canadian market to EU companies. In short, most protectionist policies that have been the subject of discussions at the World Trade Organization (WTO) in the Doha Round negotiations and that have been the subject of complaints against Canada at the WTO (or complaints by the United States under the Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement of NAFTA) are on the table.

In any bilateral or multilateral free trade agreement negotiations, there are winners and losers at the end of the negotiation. What is happening at this early stage of the Canada-EU CETA negotiations is that Canadian negotiators are being told very loudly and clearly that Canadians must give up their protections in order to enter into this relationship.

If my Grandmother were still here and she was giving relationship advice, she would be asking a simple question, "Is this partner worth the fundamental changes I am being asked to make?" The answer to this question is what hangs over the Canada-EU negotiations. With all the Canadian provincesand territories at the negotiating table, I can hear a few provincial premiers (and opposition parties) shouting "No Way!".

The interested parties should get involved in the Canada-EU CETA negotiations in a meaningful way - there is a big cloud that is getting darker.

For more information, please contact Cyndee Todgham Cherniak at 416-307-4168. Cyndee is an adjunct professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Law and teaches a course of NAFTA and bilateral trading arrangements. Cyndee has reviewed over 100 free trade agreements for the Asian Development Bank and written an extensive report on trade agreement negotiations.

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