Thursday, January 21, 2016

EU trade deal still not signed

The free trade deal reached last year between Canada and the European Union has not been signed and there are indications now that both sides want to do more negotiating.

Specifically they are worried about clauses that give companies the right to sue governments if they are unfairly damaged by legislation or regulatory action.

Both sides say they are still committed to all the rest of the deal.

The European Union parliament is scheduled to vote on the deal this fall.

The Trudeau government has not yet said when it will bring the deal to Parliament.

As with Chapter 11 of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), businesses are protected from arbitrary government decision-making. The opportunity for corporations to recover damages aims to force governments to fulfil the trade deals they sign, or be held accountable.
"The debate over whether ISDS provisions should be in trade agreements is over," said Adam Taylor, now with Ensight Canada, who worked for former Conservative minister Ed Fast during the negotiations. 
"There is strong consensus that they are good, they protect businesses and they should be part of these ambitious, 21st-century trade agreements," he told CBC News.
But critics point to how expensive things can get for taxpayers when corporations sue governments for interfering with trade.

Americans have proven particularly skilled at winning, or dragging out, these disputes. And that's the problem.