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Post: Green Light for Ceta – Questions and Answers


Ceta? There was something. The Bundestag has now ratified the trade agreement between the EU and Canada, which has been in effect for years. Questions and answers.

TTIP and Ceta – that was exciting. Six years ago, tens of thousands of people took to the streets. After years of hesitation, Germany is now ratifying the EU’s CETA free trade agreement with Canada. The Bundestag adopted it on Thursday. It could finally come into force when all 27 EU member states give the green light – there are 17 so far, including Germany. Accordingly, the agreement has only been in effect temporarily since 2017. However, the criticism continues to this day. what is this about.

What is the situation in Ceta?

The EU and Canada signed the Ceta on October 30, 2016, after three years of negotiations, and a year later, the agreement was almost in full effect. According to the EU Commission, this eliminated 98 percent of all customs duties between the two parties and thus around 500m euros per year in customs duties for European companies, according to the industry association DIHK.

The controversial system for settling disputes has not yet entered into force as it does not fall within the EU’s commercial jurisdiction. Ceta must therefore also be approved by parliaments at the national level. In case of problems with the implementation of the agreement, the EU and Canada should first seek solutions directly with each other.

What do the critics say?

Critics fear that companies could sue states through arbitral tribunals that lack democratic legitimacy, thereby preventing unwanted laws. The private arbitration courts originally envisioned in Ceta were eventually replaced by a permanent investment court with professional judges. However, critics often oppose any particular jurisdiction for investors and demand that disputes be settled in regular courts.

Greenpeace trade expert Lis Cunha also complains: “The deal protects fossil companies instead of the climate.” The agreement will create special rights for foreign investors.

What do the defenders say?

In 2021, ten billion euros worth of German goods were exported to Canada, with total imports of 6.2 billion. However, this is only 0.6 percent of the total German trade volume. “Thanks to the deal, exports to Canada have increased by more than a quarter over the past five years,” said Dirk Jandura, President of BGA. Ceta has particularly helped small and medium-sized companies to export and settle in Canada.

What about other deals?

The traffic light coalition aims for more trade deals. Above all, the Greens and the SPD insist on anchoring mandatory sustainability criteria in new contracts – such as environmental protection requirements and minimum labor standards. “Anyone who doesn’t comply should expect sanctions,” said green politician Andreas Audretsch. BGA President Jandura calls for free trade agreements not to be overloaded with moral values.

The EU has also advanced its efforts to reach further agreements. The EU-Japan deal, the largest trade deal ever negotiated, has been in effect since 2019, followed by deals with Singapore and Vietnam. Separate parts of the deal still need to be ratified here. Comprehensive free trade agreements have also been negotiated with the South American Mercosur countries, as well as with Mexico and New Zealand – approval from the EU Parliament and member states is still awaited.

Talks with the US over the highly controversial TTIP deal have been suspended since Donald Trump took office and have not been resumed since Joe Biden took office. The federal government now wants to work again to intensify trade relations with the United States. The FDP wants concrete negotiations for a free trade agreement.

Source: ZDF

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