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Trading Away Democracy report calls for CETA’s investor-state rules to be rejected

The Council of Canadians has been working with numerous organizations in Canada, Quebec and Europe on a 20-page report released today titled Trading Away Democracy: How CETA’s Investor Protection Rules Threaten the Public Good in Canada and the EU.

Trading Away DemocracyOur trade campaigner Scott Harris edited the paper co-authored by Pia Eberhardt of Corporate Europe Observatory, Blair Redlin of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and Cecile Toubeau of the European NGO Transport & Environment. Our other partner organizations in this project include the Canadian Union of Public Employees, the Vienna Chamber of Labour, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the European Federation of Public Service Unions, the Trade Justice Network, Friends of the Earth Europe and RQIC (the Quebec Network on Continental Integration).

The key findings of the paper are:

  1. Canada’s experience with the North American Free Trade Agreement illustrates the dangers of investment arbitration

  2. CETA’s investor protections would arguably grant even greater rights to foreign investors than NAFTA, increasing the risk that foreign investors will use CETA to constrain future government policy

  3. The risks to Canada of being sued by banks, insurers and holding companies will increase significantly with CETA

  4. CETA would increase the risk to the EU and its member states of challenges by Canadian investors in the mining and oil and gas extraction sectors

  5. Canadian subsidiaries of US-headquartered multi-nationals will also be able to use CETA to sue European governments

  6. EU, Canadian and US companies are already among the most frequent users of investment arbitration

  7. Opposition to investor-state provisions in CETA is growing on both sides of the Atlantic

  8. The “reforms” that the European Commission and the Canadian government have promised to dispel concerns about ISDS will not prevent abuse by investors and arbitrators

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow says, “CETA’s investor-state rules are a symptom of a much bigger problem: the entire deal favours corporations over citizens. Whether it’s through extended patent protection for prescription drugs that could increase drug costs by up to $1 billion, or prying open the lucrative municipal procurement market for European multinationals, this deal is about boosting corporate profits, with no public benefits.”

Trading Away Democracy calls for legislators on both sides of the Atlantic to reject any CETA text that includes private investor-state arbitration.

The full report can be read in English, French and German, with executive summaries also available in Spanish, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Greek, Bulgarian, Czech, Polish and Estonian.

To read the paper, please click here.

For more on the Council of Canadians campaign against CETA, click here.