Canadian TTIP deal is on the ropes – MEPs listened to you!

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Canadian TTIP deal is on the ropes – MEPs listened to you!

Last week was full of successes in our fight against the toxic trade deals set to undermine our democracy. UK parliamentarians listened to your concerns and spoke out in Brussels.

Across Europe, politicians sounded the death knell for hated EU-US deal TTIP. In Germany, France and Austria, leaders all ‘spoke out against the deal. *

Your MEPs are listening – tell them that now is the time to kill off TTIP and CETA for good!

CETA is no different from TTIP. It champions the same agenda of deregulation, privatisation and ‘corporate courts’, all with the same aim – big business profits, whatever the cost to people and planet. Worst of all, under CETA, the UK could be sued in CETA’s corporate courts up to 20 years after Brexit.

At last week’s European Parliament trade committee meeting, UK MEPs highlighted that they have repeatedly heard concerns about CETA from their constituents. The MEPs said they are worried about CETA’s:

  • agenda for workers’ rights, public services, and its proposed ISDS ‘corporate courts’
  • failure to meet five European Parliament conditions for ISDS ‘corporate courts’
  • strong rights for investors, but weak rights for workers – an “inequality” in trade deals that must be addressed.

Trade deals like TTIP and CETA do more harm than good to Europe.

Your MEPs are listening – tell them that now is the time to kill off TTIP and CETA for good!

* But as we explained on Politics.co.uk, this about-face is connected to their desire to push through EU-Canada deal, CETA.

War on Want  have prepared the following message to send:

Dear Member of the European Parliament,

I write to you to ask that you commit to oppose EU-US trade deal the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and EU-Canada deal the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).

TTIP is opposed across Europe – by a huge number of the public, by civil society organisations and by elected politicians. It is clear that TTIP will not be passed this year and that, in the words of French trade minister Mathias Fekl, negotiations started “in a spirit of opacity”.

We believe that Mr Fekl is correct in his demand that negotiations on TTIP must be stopped. Indeed, this is the call from more than 3.4 million people across Europe who demand an immediate end to negotiations on both TTIP and CETA.

As UK Labour MEPs warned the INTA committee of the European Parliament on August 31, they have concerns around CETA’s agenda for workers’ rights, public services and its proposed ‘Investor Court System’ (ICS). Additionally, they highlighted their belief that ICS fails to meet the European Parliament’s five conditions for investor-state dispute settlement, determined for the Parliament’s TTIP resolution in 2015.

To date, there has been no impact assessment of this huge trade deal which will affect everything from jobs to food safety rules, and the importing of high-polluting tar sands oil. Additionally, the European Parliament’s many committees – which cover issues of direct relevance for CETA, from agriculture, to the environment and legal affairs – have not provided any expert opinion on the deal.

I join with the millions across Europe who call for an immediate end to negotiations on TTIP and CETA – and the 240 civil society organisations who have already called on the European Council to withdraw the mandate for the European Commission to negotiate TTIP, with immediate effect.

Trade must not jeopardise our ability to craft strong social, health and environmental protection rules; it must protect our ability to provide public services; and it must not create privileged rights for investors which supersede a state’s ability to act in the public interest. Critically, trade deals must be negotiated and approved in line with the highest democratic standards of accountability and transparency.

Yours faithfully,

Paul Bull

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3 thoughts on “Canadian TTIP deal is on the ropes – MEPs listened to you!

  1. Email from your MEP re Please vote against CETA

    Good afternoon,

    Thank you very much for emailing me about CETA and TTIP.

    At this moment, CETA is at the forefront of my concerns: it is back on the Parliamentary agenda, having been signed during the 16th EU-Canada summit which took place at the end of October.

    The European Parliament also needs to vote on this deal – possibly as early as December – and I can assure you that I will be voting against. Further, as elements of the trade deal fall under national remit, up to 30 parliaments (national and regional) would have to ratify this agreement before it can come into force. It is expected to come before the UK Parliament in late 2016, so please do focus your efforts on MPs and local representatives around this time.

    I personally, and the Greens-EFA Group that I sit with in the European Parliament, are completely against the CETA agreement. We believe it shares many of the same faults as TTIP – you can read our ’12 reasons Greens oppose CETA’ here. CETA rules on workers’ rights and environmental standards are weak and unenforceable, and it risks weakening local economies on both sides of the Atlantic. For instance, public procurement rules are pressured to change in favour of multinationals, by working on a price basis alone, rather than taking into account social, labour and environmental considerations. For more information, you can read my recent Guardian article via this link, or see my recent video here.

    Resistance to CETA has been felt in many areas of Europe. For instance, the German Constitutional Court attached strict conditions to the CETA deal (read more here) and the Walloon regional parliament stalled Belgium’s signature due to concerns about the impact on social and environmental laws (read more here.) Greens will continue to argue for greater transparency, and for both national and European parliaments to be involved much earlier on in the process, to ensure that such significant concerns are raised and solved in a timely and reliable manner.

    Thank you for keeping up the vital public pressure on both these deals. Our collective pressure has already mitigated the ISDS proposal within TTIP, and we’ve gained access to previously secret documents. Yet, for all the attention given to TTIP, CETA has been negotiated in even greater secrecy than TTIP, and still includes the controversial ISDS mechanism. It is so important that CETA now receives the same scrutiny as TTIP, and I welcome the many public interest groups who are examining the content and making the connection between the two toxic deals.

    Thank you for your support and please keep up the pressure! If you would like to subscribe to my mailing list please click here.

    Kind regards,

    Molly

    Molly Scott Cato
    Green MEP for South West England and Gibraltar

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  2. Please vote against CETA

    Dear Constituent,

    Thank you for your e-mail about the CETA deal between Canada and the EU.

    First, we have concerns about the EU policy of ‘politicising’ trade, whereby the EU insists that its trade partners obey EU demands, which have little or nothing to do with trade.

    For example, the EU’s ‘GSP Plus’ scheme, which places heavy political burdens on EU trade partners to agree to no less than 27 non-trade conventions. If countries do not comply with EU demands they are threatened with a denial of low tariff or tariff free market access. As we enter our own negotiations with the EU, we already see the EU attempting to use its Single Market as a point of leverage. It has been doing this against some of the world’s poorest countries for years.

    Second, UKIP in principle strongly supports free trade agreements, and we regret that our trade policy has been nearly wholly under the control of the EU since we joined. The Treaty of Rome explicitly denies the UK a right to conduct its own free-trade negotiations and has prevented us from signing agreements that would both generate wealth and create jobs.

    Although BREXIT is in its early stages, it is highly likely that we will regain the right to negotiate and sign our own trade treaties. Since the vote for BREXIT, more than 27 countries have expressed an interest in negotiating trade agreements with the UK including the USA, India, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Mexico, South Korea and Switzerland. The combined GDP of those countries already expressing an interest is at least $40 trillion that is two thirds of the global economy. By comparison the EU’s GDP is $14 trillion (of which the UK accounts for $2.7 trillion).

    In short, the EU is free to conduct whatever trade deals it wishes, including that with Canada. Thanks to BREXIT, so will we be and unencumbered by the EU’s politicised trade policy that dilutes our national interest.

    Best wishes,

    Julia Reid

    Dr Julia Reid PhD MEP (UKIP South West & Gibraltar)
    Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD) Group
    European Parliament

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  3. 15 December 2016 Our Ref: CM/JC/BULL01016/

    Dear Paul

    Thank you for contacting me on CETA, I thought I should update you as the parliamentary year comes to an end.

    Labour MEPs have taken a cautious stance when it comes to these EU trade deals. While we recognise that increasing trade flows between the EU and North America could be beneficial to the UK economy, we have also raised concerns regarding some of the proposals made in these negotiations.

    The European Parliament adopted a comprehensive position on TTIP in July 2015, rejecting in particular any lowering of food and safety standards and calling for a full exclusion of all public services including the NHS.

    On investment protection, we have made our opposition to secret tribunals and enhanced rights for multinationals absolutely clear. In fact, Labour MEPs voted against the European Parliament resolution on TTIP because it failed to fully reject ISDS in all shapes or forms.

    While as MEPs we can pass or veto trade deals once they are concluded, we cannot start or stop negotiations. It is up to national governments – including the UK government – to adopt or revoke any negotiating mandate. But it is clear that as it stands we would not be in a position to support TTIP.

    As for CETA, negotiations have been concluded and the Council of Trade Ministers of the EU adopted 39 additional statements and declarations which need to be carefully assessed. We are currently engaged in this process as part of the ongoing parliamentary scrutiny of CETA.

    One important element that has already emerged is that a number of EU member states have requested changes to the investment chapter of the agreement, with Belgium actually stating very clearly that it will veto CETA unless the chapter is changed. It is however unclear at this stage what these changes may be, and we are calling for a clearer legal explanation before we proceed with our own vote on CETA.

    There is also uncertainty as to the scope of provisional application of CETA, as a ruling of the European Court of Justice relevant to this issue is still pending.

    Labour MEPs will collectively take a position on CETA in the coming weeks, ahead of the vote on CETA planned for February 2017.

    I hope this answers your question but please get in touch if you would like any further information.

    With best wishes

    Clare Moody
    Labour MEP for the South West and Gibraltar

    Like

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