Germany to reject Conservatives’ Canada-EU free trade deal

A victory for Canadian democracy as Germany rejects the Harper Conservatives’ reviled multi-billion dollar Canada-EU free trade deal.

by: Obert Madondo  | Published Sun. Jul 27, 2014

CUPE Stop CETALeading Germany newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported Saturday that Germany would reject the Harper Conservatives’ multi-billion dollar Canada-EU free trade deal.

The deal, known as the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement or CETA, was signed in principle last fall by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and EU President Jose Manuel Barroso.

Germany was due to sign the agreement in September. Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government is reportedly vexed by provisions in the deal allowing corporations to sue governments infringing upon their pursuit of profits.

As Reuters reports, “The German government does not view as necessary stipulations on investor protection, including on arbitration cases between investors and the state with states that guarantee a resilient legal system and sufficient legal protection from independent national courts.”

Reuters further reports that Germany “took a similar position on investor protection in the still-to-be-agreed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement with the United States.”

The Council of Canadians has played a pivotal role in mobilizing grassroots opposition to CETA and other trade liberalization deals.

“This is a victory for democracy. We are pleased that the German government has listened to critics of the investor-state dispute settlement provisions of the deal that give foreign corporations the right to dictate domestic policy,” said Maude Barlow, national chairperson of the Council of Canadians.

“We’ve worked to educate European politicians on just how harmful allowing companies to sue you can be,” said Scott Harris, trade campaigner with the Council of Canadians. “We’ve told them about all the lawsuits Canada has faced under NAFTA for legitimate regulations that protect our health and environment.”

US-based energy company Lone Pine Resources Inc. is currently suing the Canadian government for $250-million after Quebec intervened in its environmentally destructive fracking business activities.

Germany’s rejection of CETA comes barely two months after Harper’s visit to Brussels for the G7 summit, where his “first order of business was to kick-start his stalled free-trade deal.” The rejection is also likely to cost Harper the 2015 federal election. The Conservatives have made free trade agreements a key plank of their economic agenda and election platforms.

Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based progressive blogger, and the founder and editor of The Canadian Progressive. Follow him on Twitter.com/Obiemad

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Obert Madondo

Publisher and editor
Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based independent journalist and progressive political blogger. He's the publisher and editor of The Canadian Progressive.