Groups on both sides of Atlantic oppose excessive corporate rights in Canada-EU trade deal

Groups issue a joint statement ahead of two-day meeting between European Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht and Canadian International Trade Minister Ed Fast.

Brussels, Ottawa and Montreal (06 Feb. 2013) - Labour, environmental, Indigenous, women’s, academic, health sector and fair trade organizations from Europe, Canada and Quebec, representing more than 65 million people, are demanding that Canada and the EU stop negotiating an excessive and controversial investor rights chapter in the proposed Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).  

The groups issued a joint statement ahead of a two-day meeting in Ottawa between European Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht and Canadian International Trade Minister Ed Fast. The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of the organizations endorsing the joint statement.

“We will vigorously oppose any transatlantic agreement that compromises our democracies, human and Indigenous rights, and our right to protect our health and the planet,” says the transatlantic statement, endorsed by more than 70 organizations.

“We urge the European Union (EU) and Canadian governments to follow the lead of the Australian government by stopping the practice of including investor-state dispute settlement in their trade and investment agreements, and to open the door to a broad re-writing of trade and investment policy to balance out corporate interests against the greater public interest.”

Investor-state dispute settlement is a process found in many Canadian and European trade and investment agreements, including the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the hundreds of bilateral investment treaties that EU members states have signed with developing countries and with each other.

The process allows a firm in one country to sue the government of the other country if the firm feels its investor rights have been violated. These investment rules create a parallel legal system for multinational corporations and private investors, who are using them increasingly to challenge environmental, public health and other government policies, decisions, laws and measures that interfere in some way with the “right” to make a profit.

More information:

Trade Justice Network

List of Statement Endorsers

NUPGE

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE