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True or false? Facts and myths about CETA

Helpful info about CETA, which entered into provisional application on 21 September 2017.

Is CETA dangerous for the climate, the environment and health?

No. CETA includes chapters on the environment and sustainable development which provide for cooperation between Canada and Europe. It guarantees the right for Member States of the EU to regulate in chapters such as the one on safety of agricultural products and the chapter on investments.

Even if CETA was negotiated before the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, Canada and the EU have since recognised, in a formal and binding declaration, the importance of working together towards the application of the Paris Agreement.  CETA is not an environment agreement, but it goes beyond any other trade agreement signed by the EU regarding environmental and climate matters. At the Joint Committee meeting on 26 September 2018, Canada and the EU adopted a recommendation on trade, climate action and the Paris Agreement reaffirming their commitment to implement the Paris Agreement and to cooperate in contributing to the achievement of the Paris Agreement's goals.

Will CETA allow hormone-treated beef, GMO or other products currently forbidden in Belgium?

No. The European health standards will be fully applicable to Canadian products, including the ban on growth hormones and other food additives for animals, as well as the GMO regulation.  CETA does not undermine these European standards, nor the standards implemented in Canada regarding European products imported to Canada.

The EU will still be able to use its traditional tools to protect EU farmers, including the entry price system for fruits and vegetables which prevents imports from undercutting EU seasonal products. This provision is of particular relevance to Belgian fruit and vegetable producers.

Is CETA a threat to the Belgian cattle industry?

No. The duty-free in-quotas of beef will come to 64,950 tonnes, i.e. less than 0.8% of the European market (or 2.4 grams per week and per inhabitant – the weight of a one euro cent coin). The in-quota for pork meat is about 80,000 tonnes, which represents less than 0.5% of quantities consumed in Europe. These quotas will span progressively over 6 years (i.e., will not be completely accessible until 2022).
Under CETA, the following duty-free quotas will be available:

  • 30,840 tonnes of fresh beef
  • 15,000 tonnes of frozen beef
  • 14,950 tonnes of "high-quality" beef (portion of an already existing quota which currently attract customs duties of 20%)

To this total of 60,790 tonnes of beef, a quota of 3,000 tonnes of bison meat is to be added. Canada has also been reallocated 4,160 tonnes of fresh meat from a zero-duty quota that we share with other countries, including the United States - this is not a new quantity but a reallocated quota as provided for in the agreement.   Thus, when taking everything into account (new quotas, modified quotas, old reallocated and bison quotas), 67,950 tonnes will potentially be available in 2022.

Knowing that the European beef market is about 7,209,000 tonnes (in 2016), the following percentages are obtained:

  • "New quotas": 45,840/7,209,000 = 0.636%
  • New quotas and modified quotas: 60,790/7,209,000 = 0.843%
  • New quotas, modified quotas and reallocated quotas: 64,950/7,209,000 = 0.901%
  • New quotas, modified quotas, reallocated and bison quotas: 67,950/7,209,000 = 0.943%

CETA excludes certain sensitive products like poultry and eggs from any tariff cuts.

Will CETA pave the way for private justice allowing multinational companies to impose their views?

No. The chapter on investments breaks from private practice and arbitration, which is present in over 80 treaties signed by Belgium.

CETA provides for a court system composed of judges, nominated and paid by States, with the possibility to appeal. CETA reinforces ethical requirements for the members of the court and helps prevent conflicts of interests.  This court will be implemented upon the full entry into force (i.e., once CETA is ratified by the 38 National and Regional Parliaments of the 28 EU Member States).

The agreement does not in any way prevent governments from regulating in the public interest, require that investors be compensated simply because a governmental measure has affected their expectations, including those regarding profits, and allow a court to request that a government change its laws, regulations, or policies.

However, CETA does allow the court to dismiss frivolous claims to ensure the process is not abused.

Can a non-Canadian company launch a claim against the EU or an EU member state using CETA's investment dispute resolution mechanism?

No. An enterprise of a third state cannot benefit from CETA's investment dispute resolution provisions simply by the fact that it has activities in Canada.
CETA's investment provisions offer protection to Canadian enterprises which (1) are established in Canada, (2) have substantive business activities in Canada, and (3) are making an investment in the EU that directly relates to their activities in Canada.
As such, an enterprise that is established in Canada, owned or controlled by persons from a third state, and lacking substantial business activities in Canada (e.g. letter-box companies), would not be recognised as an investor for the purposes of CETA's investment chapter.

Will CETA lead to the privatisation of public services?

CETA provides guarantees that governments remain entirely free to manage public services as they see fit to best serve their citizens.

CETA has exceptions for publicly delivered services, such as health, education and other social services that allow governments to retain broad policy-making authority.

Are CETA and TTIP linked?

No. CETA is not linked in any way to the Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership (TTIP) that is being negotiated between the EU and the United States.

CETA negotiations are concluded and the text is publicly available.

What are the other benefits of CETA for Belgium?

Belgium will be able to export 98% of its products duty-free to Canada, which should benefit major sectors such as pharmaceuticals, chemicals, machinery and electrical equipment, oil products, motor vehicles, textiles and agri-food products.

Canada will open up access to its procurement contracts at federal, provincial and municipal level to the highest level ever granted in international trade agreements, and make the tendering process more transparent by publishing all its public tenders (both federal and provincial) on a single procurement website.

CETA will improve and secure Belgian companies’ access to the Canadian services market. Canada has lifted a number of restrictions on citizenship and residency requirements for certain Belgian professionals seeking to engage in an activity in Canada (lawyers, accountants, architects, engineers, etc.).

Canada has accepted further liberalisation of maritime transport and made market access commitments with respect to dredging, repositioning of empty containers, and transhipment operations on the Halifax-Montreal route.

CETA gives Belgian innovations, copyrights and trademarks a similar level of protection in Canada as they enjoy in Europe. In particular, Canada will bring its copyright protection in line with international standards. CETA also covers intellectual property rights for pharmaceuticals.

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Date Modified:
2019-02-14