Canada-EU free trade deal in jeopardy over investor protection

The free trade deal that the Harper government has been negotiating with the European Union has been stalled, if not killed outright, by the refusal of the German government to sign it. All twenty-eight members of the EU must sign the agreement for it to take effect. The German objections to the deal as currently negotiated concern the legal protection extended to firms that invest in the EU. The “investor-state” clause allows investing companies to sue governments if they feel they are not being treated fairly by a given country’s legislation. The German government does not view this level of investor protection as necessary.

cheese-EU-Canada-free-trade-EDIweekly
EU cheese exports to Canada would more than double under the EU-Canada free trade agreement as negotiated. Germany has rejected the deal because of its investor-state clauses.

The EU is also in the midst of negotiating a free trade deal with the United States. It has been said that the Canada deal is a “test” for the US deal, and that if the Canada deal does not pass neither will the US deal. The US trade deal contains investor-state terms similar to the ones being rejected by the Germans. Under these terms, investors from Canada, and eventually from the United States, would be able to challenge policy makers and have their trade disputes resolved by independent arbitration panels, not in the courts. Trade disputes in North America are resolved  by investor state arbitration under NAFTA. The German position is that any such dispute should be resolved in the German courts.

If the multibillion-dollar free trade deal passed, virtually all duties on non-agricultural goods would be eliminated immediately, including forestry, chemical and plastic products. Most duties and tariffs would also be removed from fish and seafood and agricultural products. Canada’s beef and pork producers would be able to sell 50,000 and 81,000 tonnes respectively. European cheese makers would be able to more than double their exports to Canada. Canadian auto makers would also be able to export more cars to Europe.

Ontario has estimated that the deal would create about 30,000 jobs in the province. Various goods imported from Europe, at least in principle, would be cheaper for Canadian consumers, including foods, wines, spirits and cars. At present there are tariffs on European auto parts up to 4.5 per cent.

Did you miss this?

Other Popular Stories

  • Researchers claim potential improvement in solar cell efficiency
  • Ford reveals C-MAX Solar Energi Concept car
  • BC, Ontario economies to lead country into 2017
  • Electric bush plane: combined project of Zenair and Solar Ship combines rugged short landings with green technology
  • Plastics use in cars to nearly double in four years: report
  • Lobby groups working hard to convince Obama on Keystone
  • Elon Musk's green vision extends to the Tesla Semi, capable of hauling 80,000 pounds for up to 400 miles on a single 30 minute charge
  • Ottawa medical device company receives government support to expand production
  • Researchers find way to turn wood into supercapacitors
  • Renault's autonomous float hover car by Yunchen Chai may be the automobile of the future — winner of a design competition from Renault
  • Solar-powered nanoheaters offer solution for off-grid medical sterilization
  • Tesla now biggest car maker in California
  • Engineers Canada calls for more women to enter profession
  • Calgary company a leader in waterless fracking
  • Pratt & Whitney Canada to invest $275 million in Quebec plant
  • General Dynamic Land Systems $15-billion deal with Saudis at risk over Kingdom's alleged involvement in murder plot
  • Five Barrels of Water Produced Per Barrel of Oil
  • Bombardier promises to deal with Toronto's streetcars, while CSeries sales take off
  • SNC-Lavalin-China agreement could expand market for CANDUs
  • Ethical Concerns Rise Over the Future of Autonomous Vehicles
Scroll to Top