As the pro-corporate Canada-Europe trade deal notched another victory on Monday, a pair of new studies underscored how the health, rights, and livelihoods of people on both sides of the Atlantic will suffer under the pending deal.
Germany’s minority Social Democratic Party (SPD) voted in favor of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), making it increasingly likely the trade deal will be approved by the country’s Parliament. The backing came despite the fact that on Saturday over 300,000 people across Germany marched in opposition to the deal and its “toxic” sister agreement, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
As Deutsche Welle noted, CETA “is scheduled to be signed by Ottawa and Brussels next month. However, each [European Union] member state would then need to fully ratify the agreement for it to come into force.”
Critics say that the agreement will only increase corporate power and that its provisions will “water down or abolish environmental, health, and consumer protection regulations.”
To that end, European campaigners Global Justice Now, Corporate Europe, and the Transnational Institute released a new report (pdf) on Monday underscoring how the deal’s investor protections, including the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) system, “could dangerously thwart government efforts to protect citizens and the environment.”
According to the study, CETA would “arguably grant ever greater rights to foreign investors than NAFTA, increasing the risk that foreign investors will use CETA to constrain future government policy.”
What’s more, the report points out that Canadian subsidiaries of U.S.-headquartered multinationals will also be able to use these provisions to sue European governments. Given that E.U., Canadian, and U.S. companies are already “among the most frequent users of investment arbitration…there is every reason to expect that they will use CETA to rein in government measures.”
Commenting on the study, Nick Dearden, director of the UK-based Global Justice Now, said the agreement “would open up [E.U.] government to a deluge of court cases by North American multinational corporations and investors. It presents a threat to our ability to protect the environment, to protect the public, and to limit the power of big banks. It’s thoroughly undemocratic and must be stopped.”
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