Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement

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"CETA" redirects here. For the US jobs and training program (1973-1982), see Comprehensive Employment and Training Act.
Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement
European Union Canada Locator.svg
Canada (orange) and the European Union (green)
Type Trade agreement
Signed Not signed
Effective Not in force
Languages All official EU/Canadian languages

The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is a proposed free-trade agreement between Canada and the European Union.[1][2] If enacted, the agreement would eliminate 98% of the tariffs between Canada and the EU.

CETA would also broaden the authority of investor-state dispute settlement where corporations can sue governments. The negotiations were concluded in August 2014 with the agreement to be approved by the Council of the European Union, the European Parliament and all EU member states.

The EU claims the treaty will lead to savings of just over half a billion euros in taxes for EU exporters every year, mutual recognition in regulated professions such as architects, accountants and engineers, and easier transfers of company staff and other professionals between the EU and Canada. The European Commission claims CETA will create a more level playing field between Canada and the EU on intellectual property rights.[3]

Critics oppose the treaty on the grounds that it will weaken European consumer rights, including those concerning food safety, and that tariffs are already very low.[4] It has also been criticized as a boon only for big business and multinational corporations, while risking net-losses, unemployment, and environmental damage impacting individual citizens.[5][6] The proposal has prompted protests in Europe and Canada.[7]


CETA is Canada's biggest bilateral initiative since NAFTA. It was hatched as a result of a joint study "Assessing the Costs and Benefits of a Closer EU-Canada Economic Partnership",[8] which was released in October 2008. Officials announced the launch of negotiations on 6 May 2009 at the Canada-EU Summit in Prague.[2][9] This after the Canada-EU Summit in Ottawa on 18 March 2004 where leaders agreed to a framework for a new Canada-EU Trade and Investment Enhancement Agreement (TIEA). The TIEA was intended to move beyond traditional market access issues, to include areas such as trade and investment facilitation, competition, mutual recognition of professional qualifications, financial services, e-commerce, temporary entry, small- and medium-sized enterprises, sustainable development, and sharing science and technology. The TIEA was also to build on a Canada-EU regulatory co-operation framework for promoting bilateral co-operation on approaches to regulatory governance, advancing good regulatory practices and facilitating trade and investment. In addition to lowering barriers, the TIEA was meant to heighten Canadian and European interest in each other's markets.[10] The TIEA continued until 2006 when Canada and the EU decided to pause negotiations. This led to negotiations on a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), and this agreement will go beyond the TIEA toward an agreement with a much broader and more ambitious scope.

An agreement in principle was signed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and European Commission President José Manuel Barroso on 18 October 2013. The negotiations were concluded on 1 August 2014.[11] The trade agreement was officially presented on 25 September 2014 by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso during an EU - Canada Summit at the Royal York Hotel in downtown Toronto.[12] The Canada Europe Roundtable for Business ( has served as the parallel business process from the launch to the conclusion of the CETA negotiations.

After it had been leaked by German public television on 14 August, the 1634 pages long Consolidated CETA text was published on the EU's official website on 26 September 2014.[13]

Completion, translation of the final text into 24 EU languages, and ratification is expected to take two years since the passage of the deal may require not just the approval of the European Parliament and the European Council but the individual 28 EU member states as well.[14][15]


The STOP TTIP CETA demo in Berlin in October 2015 had around 250.000 participants[16][17]

Research commissioned by negotiating parties[edit]

The EU-Canada Trade Sustainability Impact Assessment (SIA), a three-part study commissioned by the European Commission to independent experts and completed in September 2011, provides a comprehensive prediction on the impacts of CETA.[18][19][20] It predicts a number of macro-economic and sector-specific impacts, suggesting the EU may see increases in real GDP of 0.02–0.03% in the long-term from CETA, whereas Canada may see increases of 0.18–0.36%; the Investment section of the report suggests these numbers could be higher when factoring in investment increases. At the sectoral level, the study predicts the greatest gains in output and trade to be stimulated by services liberalization and by the removal of tariffs applied on sensitive agricultural products; it also suggests CETA could have a positive social impact if it includes provisions on the ILO's Core Labour Standards and Decent Work Agenda. The study details a variety of impacts in various "cross-cutting" components of CETA: it advocates against controversial NAFTA-style ISDS provisions; predicts potentially imbalanced benefits from a government procurement (GP) chapter; assumes CETA will lead to an upward harmonization in IPR regulations, particularly changing Canadian IPR laws; and predicts impacts in terms of competition policy and several other areas.[20]

Economic ties between the EU and Canada[edit]

Canada and the EU have a long history of economic co-operation. Comprising 28 Member States with a total population of over 500 million and a GDP of €13.0 trillion in 2012,[21] the European Union (EU) is the world's largest single market, foreign investor and trader. As an integrated bloc, the EU represents Canada's second largest trading partner in goods and services. In 2008, Canadian goods and services exports to the EU totalled C$52.2 billion, an increase of 3.9% from 2007, and imports from the EU amounted to $62.4 billion.

According to Statistics Canada, the EU is also the second largest source of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Canada, with the stock of FDI amounting to $133.1 billion at the end of 2008. In 2008, the stock of Canada's direct investment in the EU totalled $136.6 billion, and the EU is the destination of 21.4% of Canadian direct investment abroad. According to Eurostat, the EU identified Canada as its third largest destination and its fourth largest source of FDI in 2007.

Copyright provisions[edit]

Many of its provisions on copyright were initially thought to be identical to the controversial ACTA, which was rejected by the European Parliament in 2012. The European Commission has indicated[22] that this is not the case.

Part of the Agreement is stricter enforcement of intellectual property, including liability for Internet Service Providers, a ban on technologies that can be used to circumvent copyright, and other provisions similar to controversial ACTA, DMCA, PIPA, and SOPA, as below:[23] Electronic Frontier Foundation stated that this "trade agreement replicates ACTA's notorious copyright provisions".[24]

  • Copyright term extension. The current term of copyright law in Canada is life of the author plus 50 years. This is consistent with the term requirements under the Berne Convention. The EU is demanding that Canada add an additional 20 years by making the term life plus 70 years.
  • WIPO ratification. The EU is demanding that Canada respect the rights and obligations under the WIPO Internet treaties. The EU only formally ratified those treaties [in the week of 16 December 2009].
  • Anti-circumvention provisions. The EU is demanding that Canada implement anti-circumvention provisions that include a ban on the distribution of circumvention devices. There is no such requirement in the WIPO Internet treaties.
  • ISP Liability provisions. The EU is demanding statutory provisions on ISP liability where they act as mere conduits, cache content, or host content. ISPs would qualify for a statutory safe harbour in appropriate circumstances. There is no three-strikes and you're out language (which presumably originates with the U.S.).
  • Enforcement provisions. The EU is demanding that Canada establish a host of new enforcement provisions including measures to preserve evidence, ordering alleged infringers to disclose information on a wide range of issue[s], mandate disclosure of banking information in commercial infringement cases, allow for injunctive relief, and destruction of goods. There is also a full section on new border measures requirements.
  • Resale rights. The EU is demanding that Canada implement a new resale right that would provide artists with a royalty based on any resales of their works (subsequent to the first sale).
  • Making available or distribution rights. The EU is demanding that Canada implement a distribution or making available right to copyright owners.

These are just the copyright provisions. There are sections dealing with patents, trademarks, designs, and (coming soon) geographical indications. These include:

  • requiring Canada to comply with the Trademark Law Treaty (Canada is not a contracting party)
  • requiring Canada to accede to the Hague System for the International Registration of Industrial Designs
  • creating new legal protections for registered industrial designs including extending the term of protection from the current 10 years to up to 25 years
  • requiring Canada to comply with the Patent Law Treaty (Canada has signed but not implemented)
  • requiring Canada to establish enhanced protection for data submitted for pharmaceutical patents.
Dr Michael Geist, Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law, University of Ottawa[23]

On 22 October 2012, five Polish NGOs criticized the secrecy surrounding the negotiations, the similarities to ACTA, and demanded more disclosures about the negotiations from the Polish government.[25]

In the Consolidated CETA Text a long section on "Intellectual Property Rights", IPR, (p 339 - 375) deals comprehensively with copyrights, trademarks, patents, designs, trade secrets and licensing. Here reference is made to the TRIPS agreement (p 339 f ). In addition to the interests of the pharmaceutical and software industries CETA encourages to prosecute "Camcording" (the so-called "film piracy", Art. 5.6, p 343 ). Especially the negotiations on food exports lasted very long. The interests connected with European cheese exports and Canadian beef exports led to a protection of these kinds of intellectual properties and long lists of "Geographical Indications Identifying a Product Originating in the European Union" (p 363 - 347).[26]

Non-tariff barriers[edit]


CETA does not alter EU non-tariff barriers such as European regulations on beef, which include a ban on the use of growth hormones. Canadian stakeholders have criticized the EU's delays in the approval process for genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and GMO traceability and labelling requirements, none of which are addressed in CETA.[27]


According to an op-ed by Maude Barlow, implementation of the agreement would have serious negative consequences for the environment in both Canada and the European Union.[28]

Impact on fisheries[edit]

The enforcement of the Exclusive economic zone of Canada will be altered under the CETA.

The provincial government of Newfoundland and Labrador has argued that the Federal government of Canada in Ottawa reneged on a deal to pay $280 million in exchange for its relinquishment of minimum processing requirements as part of CETA. Those rules helped protect jobs in fish plants, especially in rural areas hit hard by the cod moratorium, which was instituted in 1992.[29] The exclusive economic zone of Canada, which was the subject of the 1992 Canada–France Maritime Boundary Case dispute, will no longer be in force where fishing boats from Europe are concerned. Overly permissive Spanish fishing practices, as evinced by the Turbot War, have been reduced, and the European practice of Factortame Ltd will be pursued.

Visa disputes[edit]

All member states of the European Union must sign and ratify the agreement in order for it to come into effect. The Czech Republic, Romania and Bulgaria had declared they would not do so until the visa requirements for their citizens entering Canada were lifted. While visas requirements were lifted for the Czech Republic on November 14, 2013,[30][31][32] the requirements for Bulgaria and Romania remain unresolved as of October 20, 2016.[33]

Investment protection and investor-state-tribunals[edit]

Section 4 of the CETA agreement (pages 158-161) provides Investment Protection to foreign investors, and guarantees a "fair and equitable treatment and full protection and security".

CETA allows foreign corporations to sue states before arbitral tribunals if they claim to have suffered losses because

  • a state had violated its Non Discriminatory Treatment obligations (CETA, section 3, p 156 f)
  • or because of a violation of the guaranteed investment protection.

This license exists only in one direction - states cannot sue companies in these investor-state arbitrations. Such investors complaints are nothing new under public international law (UNCTAD listed 514 such cases at the end of 2012, most from the United States, the Netherlands, Great Britain and Germany) but for transatlantic trade and investment, this comprehensive level of parallel justice is new.

After much criticism of the hitherto often confidential arbitral proceedings, CETA now provides for a certain amount of transparency by declaring the UNCITRAL Rules on Transparency in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration applicable to all proceedings (article X.33: Transparency of proceedings, p. 174).

While there is no appeal mechanism against arbitration awards comparable to scrutiny of court judgments, awards made under CETA are subject to ICSID annulment proceedings if the claim is brought under the ICSID Rules, or setting-aside proceedings if the claim is brought under the UNCITRAL Rules or any other rules the parties have agreed on. Only after time limits set for these review mechanisms have lapsed, is the tribunal's final award to "be binding between the disputing parties and in respect of that particular case". (article X.39: Enforcement of awards, p. 177)

On 26 March 2014, German Economics Minister Sigmar Gabriel wrote an open letter to EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht, stating that investment protection was central sensitive point, which could in the end decide whether a transatlantic free trade agreement would meet with German approval. He further stated that investment arbitration was unnecessary between countries with well-developed legal systems.

The CETA "Investor-State Dispute Settlement" (ISDS) provisions would constitute a precedent for similar arrangements within TTIP. Furthermore, critics allege that CETA would allow US companies to sue EU states through Canadian subsidiaries.[34][35][36][37]

In 2016, the EU Commission announced that it had agreed with the Canadian government to replace ad hoc arbitral tribunals in CETA with a permanent dispute settlement tribunal. The tribunal will consist of 15 members named by Canada and the EU, dealing with individual cases in panels of three. An appeals mechanism will be established to ensure "legal correctness" of awards. The tribunal's members may not appear as experts or party counsel in other investment cases.[38]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ European Commission, EU-Canada, retrieved 20 December 2009, Launched at the May 2009 EU-Canada Summit in Prague, the CETA aims to eliminate trade and investment barriers between the two territories. The CETA has established a historic precedent by including the Canadian provinces directly in the negotiations. 
  2. ^ a b Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (Canada), Canada-European Union: Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) Negotiations, retrieved 20 December 2009 
  3. ^ "What will the EU gain from CETA?" (PDF). 
  4. ^ (, Deutsche Welle. "Gabriel optimistic over EU-Canada CETA trade deal | Business | DW.COM | 18.10.2016". DW.COM. Retrieved 2016-10-22. 
  5. ^ "EU Commission refuses to revise Canada Ceta trade deal". BBC News. 2016-09-23. Retrieved 2016-10-22. 
  6. ^ Pia Eberhardt, Blair Redlin, Cecile Toubeau (November 2014). "Trading Away Democracy, HOW CETA'S INVESTOR PROTECTION RULES THREATEN THE PUBLIC GOOD IN CANADA AND THE EU" (PDF). Published by Association Internationale de Techniciens, Experts et Chercheurs (Aitec), Vienna Chamber of Labour (AK Vienna), Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA), Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO), Council of Canadians, Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU), German NGO Forum on Environment & Development, Friends of the Earth Europe (FoEE), PowerShift, Quaker Council for European Affairs (QCEA), Quebec Network on Continental Integration (RQIC), Trade Justice Network, Transnational Institute (TNI), Transport & Environment (T&E). Retrieved 22 October 2016. 
  7. ^ "Tens of thousands protest in Europe against Atlantic free trade deals". Reuters. 2016-09-17. Retrieved 2016-10-22. 
  8. ^ "Towards a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement". Delegation of the EU to Canada. European External Action Service. Archived from the original on 5 May 2015. Retrieved 22 October 2014. 
  9. ^ Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (Canada), Canada-European Union Trade and Investment Enhancement Agreement, retrieved 10 August 2010 
  10. ^ "Verhandlungen über Freihandelsabkommen mit Kanada abgeschlossen (Negotiations with Canada on freetrade agreement completed)". 2012-08-06. Retrieved 2012-08-06. 
  11. ^ ""Symbolic" summit to mark end of CETA talks". 2014-09-24. Retrieved 2014-09-25. 
  12. ^ "Consolidated CETA Text" (PDF). Retrieved 27 September 2014. 
  13. ^ Laura Payton (2013-10-18). "CETA: Canada-EU free trade deal lauded by Harper, Barroso". CBC News. 
  14. ^ "Canada-Europe deal risks derailment over visa spat". The Star. Toronto. 
  15. ^ "TTIP bringt Rekordzahl von Gegnern auf die Straße". ZEIT ONLINE. Retrieved 7 August 2016. 
  16. ^ Dearden, Nick (30 May 2016). "Think TTIP is a threat to democracy? There's another trade deal that's already signed". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 August 2016. 
  17. ^ Kirpatrick, C.; Raihan, S., Bleser, A.; Prud’homme, D.; Mayrand, K.; Morin, JF.; Pollitt, H.; Hinjosa, L.; Williams, M. "EU-Canada SIA Final Report." September 2011, pp. 1–468
  18. ^ "EU-Canada SIA Annexes to Final Report September 2011, pp. 1–106
  19. ^ a b "EU-Canada SIA Briefing Document" September 2011, pp. 1–5
  20. ^ "Gross domestic product at market prices". Eurostat. Retrieved 19 October 2013. 
  21. ^
  22. ^ a b Geist, Michael (16 December 2009). "Beyond ACTA: Proposed EU – Canada Trade Agreement Intellectual Property Chapter Leaks". Michael Geist's Blog. Michael Geist. Retrieved 1 April 2012. 
  23. ^ "Canada-EU Trade Agreement Replicates ACTA's Notorious Copyright Provisions | Electronic Frontier Foundation". 21 July 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-16. 
  24. ^ Wyślij. "List 5 organizacji pozarządowych do Ministra Kultury i Ministra Gospodarki w sprawie umowy CETA :: Prawo kultury" (in Polish). Retrieved 2012-10-23. 
  25. ^ "Consolidated CETA Text" (PDF). EUROPEAN COMMISSION, Directorate-General for Trade. 2014-08-05. Retrieved 2014-08-15. 
  26. ^ "Canada–European Union Economic and Trade Negotiations: The Agri-food Sector". Parliament of Canada. 2011. Retrieved 11 March 2014. 
  27. ^ Barlow, Maude (6 January 2011). "What you don't know about a deal you haven't heard of". Toronto: The Globe and Mail. 
  28. ^ G+M: "Newfoundland and Labrador says talks at stalemate with Ottawa over fish fund", 26 May 2015
  29. ^ all: Economia, a.s. "Víza do Kanady brzy skončí | HN.IHNED.CZ - česko". Hn.Ihned.Cz. Retrieved 2014-07-26. 
  30. ^ "Češi budou už brzy létat do Kanady opět bez víz — Domácí — ČT24 — Česká televize". 2013-07-15. Retrieved 2014-07-26. 
  31. ^
  32. ^ "Canada-Europe trade deal brinkmanship hinges on Walloons, but also visas". CBC News. CBC. 20 October 2016. Retrieved 21 October 2016. 
  33. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  34. ^ "US multinationals could sue EU governments through CETA". Retrieved 2016-10-22. 
  35. ^ "Canada-EU Deal Likely to Result in 'Deluge' of Big Business Cases Brought Against European Governments". Common Dreams. Retrieved 2016-10-22. 
  36. ^ "If you're worried about TTIP, then you need to know about CETA". The Independent. 2015-09-29. Retrieved 2016-10-22. 
  37. ^ CETA: EU and Canada agree on new approach on investment in trade agreement, EU Commission Press Release, 29 February 2016

External links[edit]