FTA greatly welcomes the final compromise and signing of the CETA declaration between the leaders of the EU and Canada on 31 October 2016. The deal will provide vast benefits to both economies and strengthen their common objective of sustainable development, especially since both Europe and Canada provide high levels of consumer and environmental protection. However, the agreement also provides impetus for the future of EU Trade Policy, which would have been adversely affected if the EU did not manage to come to a compromise. FTA, representing the retail and import sector, urges the EU and its Member States to ensure a healthy trade policy because on the contrary, the situation could be damaging to the EU for the following reasons:
- Effectiveness: Commercial Policy has been one of the EU’s first competences, and contributed greatly to economic development over the years. Today, about 60 million jobs in the EU depend on exports and imports. Destroying such a vital policy arm could lead to highly detrimental effects on the said jobs and growth in the EU.
- Credibility: The EU could stop being a serious negotiating partner internationally, since very few countries would be willing to negotiate with an unpredictable counterpart. This can lead the EU to lose out on the global level, and become locked out of future and growing international markets.
The above could worsen the likelihood of the EU to fully recover from the recent deep economic crisis. Protectionism and introverted policies do not lead to economic recovery, but only to prolonging, or even worsening the situation.
FTA concludes that the previous deadlock in CETA at the EU level was due to the unscrupulous politicising of trade. Nevertheless, FTA respects the legitimate concerns of all parties on certain sensitive aspects of CETA, such as regulatory cooperation or investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS). However, we believe that all sides have been adequately informed throughout the negotiating process, during which issues can be raised, discussed and tackled before the final stage and signature of the agreement.
Today´s deal was reached due to the commitment of the EU, all its Member State governments and Canada to address legitimate concerns on sensitive issues. To this end, we must continue working together to clarify EU competences and ensure the effectiveness and credibility of EU trade policy to deliver growth and jobs.