First TTIP, now CETA – is it the end of the line for secretive international trade deals?

Protesters from Greenpeace with #stopceta banners [Image: BBC].

Protesters from Greenpeace with #stopceta banners [Image: BBC].

This is welcome news.

The CETA deal between Canada and Europe was being negotiated in secret, just like TTIP, and included the same prejudicial ‘Investor-State Dispute Settlement’ mechanism that would have barred nation states from legislating for the good of their people.

Wallonia, in Belgium, seems to be the only part of Europe where democracy still means something, if this result is any yardstick.

We were all laughing at the Belgians a few years ago because they went without a national government for many months – but perhaps they had the right idea.

I also like the idea of an international referendum on these trade deals.

If Jean-Claude Juncker is so sure they are good for everybody, why does he not ask us all what we think?

Plucky Walloons stood firm against the weight of Canada and Europe yesterday, refusing to accept the secretive Ceta free trade pact.

Paul Magnette, president of Belgium’s Wallonia region, said “difficulties remain” following hours of talks in the regional capital Namur with Canadian International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland to find a compromise.

The deal requires the unanimous approval of all 28 EU member states, and for Belgium to give the OK all three federal regions — Flanders, Brussels and Wallonia — need to approve.

Mr Magnette said a key issue was how nations and transnational corporations would settle disputes under the deal.

The investor-state dispute mechanism (ISDS) court system is one of the most controversial aspects of Ceta and its sister trade deal TTIP, between the US and EU, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

ISDS gives transnational corporations the right to sue national governments for supposed loss of profits when they try to exert some control over their economy, for instance through labour laws or health and safety regulations.

EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said he had invited Ms Freeland to join talks with the EU and Belgium to persuade Mr Magnette to sign the deal Wallonia’s parliament has repeatedly rejected.

“We need this trade arrangement with Canada,” he claimed. “It is the best one we ever concluded and if we will be unable to conclude a trade arrangement with Canada, I don’t see how it would be possible to have trade agreements with other parts of this world.”

But the Belgian Workers’ Party set out a challenge in an editorial on its website: “Organise a European referendum and you’ll see that the Walloons are not alone.”

Source: Morning Star :: Walloons burst Ceta trade deal | The Peoples Daily

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10 thoughts on “First TTIP, now CETA – is it the end of the line for secretive international trade deals?

  1. Rusty

    Shame on the bbc for lying on the news about ceta! They are trying to say the protests against this trade deal is only about local business worries! I’m getting sick of the beeb tying and then demand money to pay for the lies!

    1. Robert Davies

      Only Walloon holding out worries me, but I do like your comments on paying the BBC licence fee to be lied too, its happening all to often lately.

  2. Roland Laycock

    I have great respect for the Wallonia people for standing there ground but I think they could buckle under the pressure the UK Media are under the control of the US so there is not truth coming from them

  3. mohandeer

    I don’t think the British people should be dragged into this murky deal with only the lying BBC and other corrupt MSM to explain what our government is getting us into.
    Good for the Morning Star and good for you Mike for putting it out there.

  4. Dez

    Is this supposed lucrative deal for Europe so good that common sense dissapears into the ether. No use having a good deal up front if it is eroded by litigious international companies sueing the backsides of Governments who want to protect their populations from toxic chemicals and poisons eg recent backlash from the crop poison manufacturers who did not like the fact that bee lovers were causing Governments to turn their brain cells on and cut back on using their crap. The Governments are lobbied to death to agree anything based on flimsy
    scientific evidence created by these same companies only to find they have been very short on the truth ….until to late. These deals feel like desperate attempts to boost their lack lustre trade deals at any cost including turning off their common sense. There’ll be back…greed never gives up just keeps looking for weak points and there are plenty around.

  5. Dan Delion

    Rusty heard more from Beeb than I did; over the last day or so all I heard on BBC tv & radio News was the promotion of CETA and not one word about any opposition, from UK or EU. This shows a shameful lack if balance in their reporting of matter of major concern to UK, our economy and public finances. Others have criticised BBC editorial management as biased in favour of Tory beliefs and on the basis of cumulative evidence, they are clearly correct. Lord Reith must be spinning like a turbine in his grave.

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