Why CETA and TPP are so controversial

Both of them are being negotiated in secret and have the potential to change the rights of Canadians

EDMONTON, AB, Jul 8, 2014/ Troy Media/ – Canadians can be excused for not being able to name the 10 or so countries that we have free trade agreements with. Other than the U.S. most are with niche trading partners such as Panama or Honduras and free trade has had no significant impact on inward or outward trade volumes.

However, not all trade agreements are created equally. The new generation of proposed agreements, the Canada EU free-trade agreement (CETA) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are a complex maze of political and economic issues which are being negotiated in secret and have the potential to change the rights of Canadians at home and abroad.

Free trade is as old as trade itself. David Ricardo in the 19th century explained it in terms of comparative advantage – a country should specialize in products in which it has a lower opportunity cost to produce compared to its trading partners. A country could then increase its output and trade the surplus to other nations that have a comparative advantage in other products. Ricardo’s model assumed trade without tariffs and his philosophy gave birth to the world’s first modern bilateral free-trade agreements.

Comprehensive agreements such as CETA and TPP focus not only on tariff reduction but also on future value creation within global supply chains. This includes protection of intellectual property rights, investment, labour mobility, worker safety, and environmental regulations. It is the economic and regulatory aspects of these agreements that bring them into conflict with domestic legislation and why there is so much controversy around them globally.

CETA, despite Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s announcement, is still an agreement-in-principle. Several EU countries, including Germany, have concerns over the investor-state clause that would allowprivate firms to sue governments if their business is harmed by government actions. This clause would allow Canadian subsidiaries of multi-national oil companies to sue EU governments over environmental and emissions standards, which would potentially giving corporations power over the EU’s and Canada’s domestic environmental regulations.

The TPP is similar to CETA but on a much larger scale. The TPP is attempting to integrate the economies and regulatory regimes of 12 countries which have diverse laws, beliefs, and cultures. After 20 negotiating rounds, a draft agreement has yet to be published and public support is waning in many of the countries, including the United States.

Brunei, a founding TPP participant, has caused outrage around the world for recent changes to its penal code that will allow for the stoning of suspected homosexuals and adulterers. One hundred and nineteen members of the U.S. congress have signed a letter demanding that Brunei be expelled from the agreement, but Canadian politicians have been silent on these issues and continue with their mission of expanding trade.

Singapore and Vietnam, two other participants in the TPP talks, have also been criticized for their anti-democratic approach to free speech, especially online, where they routinely block social media networks and sue bloggers.

Comprehensive trade agreement will inevitably happen in the future, but they are not something that Canadians should be kept in the dark about. Our politicians need to talk about policy and fact, not just make grandiose statements about “keeping our economy strong.”

Our economy is strong and will continue to grow in the short term if we create “winning conditions”, such as maintaining a low dollar, building a new bridge to Detroit, regulating rail routes for our grain and forestry products, and developing ‘farm to fork” regulations that will allow cattle producers to take advantage of existing trade opportunities in Europe, and around the world.

In the long-term, Canadians and Europeans, not politicians, must decide if they want the positive aspects of CETA along with the possibility of multinational companies determining environmental laws.

As for the TPP, it is too early to tell if it will bear fruit or die on the bureaucratic vine alongside Keystone XL. Economic integration with countries that are not “like-minded” is difficult and politicians must not compromise Canadian values for trade. When we refuse to stand up against the stoning of suspected homosexuals and adulterers because we want to sell more oil, we lose what it means to be Canadian.

Ryan Lijdsman is a Canadian-based international business consultant. Follow Ryan on twitter @ryanlijdsman

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0 Responses to "Why CETA and TPP are so controversial"

  1. Avatar
    DEHSmith   July 9, 2014 at 2:23 pm


    U.S. president George H.W. Bush reneging on the arrangements between
    corporate America & corporate Canada; NAFTA. C-CITreaty,

    American police (the arm of corporate America) to operate on Canadian
    soil saves even more tax money that the Canadian lobbyists’ clients
    can use for more of their endeavors after “trimming back”
    the tax dollars that had also been going to the RCMP for
    for fraud.
    while the RCMP, the Canadian judicial & penal system have very
    little money left over for the investigation & the processing of
    the “unethical”, &/or, “inhumane”
    arrangements between:
    the executives of the political parties
    the Canadian lobbyists’ clients
    continues to be “fairly easy” to keep these arrangements
    from their members’ of parliament & the Canadian
    voters/taxpayers, et al.

    while some Canadians can enjoy the benefits of American law
    enforcement to arrest (ie.”rendition”)
    fellow Canadians that trifle, &/or, disagree with their
    aforementioned arrangements,
    of the things that the 95% – 99% of Canadians who make up the
    grassroots of Canada who can not
    to be shareholders of corporate Canada, might consider remembering a
    remark by former
    president George H.W. Bush regarding the arrangements between
    corporate America & corporate
    that is:
    you should have known”.

    he mean that the Canadian politicians, &/or, the members of
    corporate Canada that Bush was dealing with
    have asked him (Bush) if all of the relevant contingencies had been
    discussed, understood & agreed upon,
    dispute mechanisms & escrow accounts, funded by corporate Canada
    & corporate America, set up to cover the costs of adjudicating
    any dispute resolutions and to pay for any punitive penalties, &/or,
    damages prior to finalizing any deals, arrangements, treaties,
    agreements, et al.

    did President Bush mean that the aforementioned Canadians
    representatives did do their due diligence & it was the Canadian
    representatives who should have told the aforementioned 95% – 99% of
    the grassroots Canadians that the above due diligence procedures were
    in place, but, the grassroots Canadians have to pay the costs of
    procedures & penalties because
    the grassroots Canadians, had not thought to inquire that the
    procedures were in fact “in place”, & thereby, ensure
    that the aforementioned procedures, etc. would ensure that the
    either, corporate Canada, or, corporate America would pay for both;
    the penalties & the procedures.

    should the grassroots of Canada have known that corporate America had
    no intention of honoring parts of the treaty right from the start,
    but the US- Canada Agreement (NAFTA) was quickly ratified with
    suggestions that any deficiencies, or, “forget-me-nots”, etc. to
    the agreement would be amicably settled on a on going basis?

    when it comes to any present arrangement, treaty, &/or, agreement
    that may have anything to do with corporate American, such as; law
    now know better, but, now, do not ask,or, insist that the enforceable
    procedures, penalties, escrow funding from corporates Canada &
    corporate America, et al, be agreed upon by the grassroots Canada in
    a series of plebiscites prior to proceeding any further?

    if corporate Canada fails to provide the plebiscites, et al, when
    will the grassroots be enabled to sue both of the corporate Canada’s
    escrow accounts which corporate Canada will have to set aside the
    funds for the grassroots legal funds as a prerequisite (ie. to
    investigate & prosecute; a) corporate Canada & b) the other
    signers to the Treaty, Agreement, Accord, et al)?

    more on corporate Canada’s international arrangements in the context
    of The WAD Accord & their global economy, see;
    “David Smith, Sidney, BC” to
    “TITLE’ from the facebook List above & David E.H. Smith”.

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