It looks, to me, like “Trade Agreement” is the vehicle chosen by TPTB to take away democratic control of our republics.
The TPP has in it a tribunal with authority to enforce any “environmental agreement” (read Paris “Global Warming” agreement) and all the talk about the Canadian Trade Agreement with the E.U. (pending) in this BrExit dust up got me curious. So I took a look.
The What and Where
The relevant section is buried down just below where I was starting to have the mind wander, and that was only reading the “summary”, not the actual document pdf.
The Canada and European Union (EU) Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is a high quality agreement that reinforces Canada’s fundamental relationship with the European Union. CETA covers all aspects of our broad trading relationship with the EU, including goods, services, investment, government procurement and regulatory cooperation. CETA will provide Canada access to the world’s largest market with more than 500 million people in 28 countries, with a combined GDP of $20 trillion.
On February 29, 2016, Canada’s Minister of International Trade, Chrystia Freeland, and the European Union’s Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström announced the completion of the legal review of CETA. As part of the legal review, Canada and the EU agreed on modifications related to investment protection and investment dispute resolution provisions. The Agreement is currently undergoing translation into French, and the other 21 EU Treaty languages. Following translation, the process required to approve the agreement in Canada and the EU along with the steps necessary to bring policies, regulations and legislation into conformity with the obligations under CETA will begin.
You also have to hunt and peck around a little to discover that the “technical summary” is the interesting summary, instead of all the “oh look, it’s good for you, just swallow” links…
The Tech Summary
“Sustainable” and “environment agreement” and “dispute settlement” and any referenceCETA Canada European Union Comprehensive Trade agreement to a UN set direction are your hot buzzword clues. Oh, and “bound”, as in “bound and gagged” and “bound and drowned”…
Sustainable Development, Environment and Labour
First time Canada has a chapter on sustainable development in an FTA
First time Canada includes chapters with substantive provisions on labour and environment in an FTA
Provisions designed to ensure that any increased economic activity as a result of the FTA does not occur at the expense of environmental and labour protection
All provinces and territories have agreed to immediate coverage under the sustainable-development, environment and labour provisions for the first time full coverage has not been achieved in previous FTAs
under the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (parallel agreement to NAFTA), only three provinces have agreed to be bound (Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec)
under the Chile, Costa Rica, Peru, Colombia, Jordan and Panama environment agreements, no provinces and territories have agreed to be bound
Trade and Sustainable Development Chapter
Sets out commitments relating to sustainable development and enhanced coordination of environment, labour and trade policies by:
encouraging businesses to adopt practices that promote economic, social and environmental objectives
recognizing the benefits of eco-labeling and setting environmental-performance goals and standards
committing to review, monitor and assess the impact that implementation of the Agreement has on sustainable development in Canada and the EU
creating a forum to allow our civil-society organizations to discuss the sustainable-development aspects of trade relations between Canada and the EU
Creates a committee of high-level representatives to oversee the implementation of the Trade and Sustainable Development, Trade and Environment, and Trade and Labour chapters
representatives of provinces and territories, as members of the Canadian delegation, will have the opportunity to participate in committee discussions—including discussions that deal with issues falling at least partially under provincial or territorial jurisdiction,
So the Territories and Provinces can discuss things, just not have any impact. It sets up an NGO forum (no doubt with slush fund) and it lets the various mechanisms control how businesses do things.
Trade and Environment Chapter
Contains provisions similar to those found in Canada’s existing parallel environment agreements, including the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation
seeking to maintain high levels of environmental protection
effectively enforcing domestic environmental laws
not derogating from environmental laws to attract trade or investment
providing domestic sanctions or remedies for violations of environmental laws
promoting accountability and responsibility
Robust definition of environmental law covers all laws that have as their purpose the protection of the environment, including environmental laws related to the management of natural resources
Provisions related to sustainable trade in forest and fisheries products
Provisions for cooperation on topics of mutual interest, including promotion of trade and investment in environmental goods and services
Dispute resolution covers all obligations in the Chapter.
is based on a consultative and cooperative approach
if needed, consultation is followed by a review by a panel of experts that would issue a non-binding report
no penalties or trade sanctions in cases of non-compliance
Environmental considerations were also included in other areas of CETA, including:
references to environment and sustainable development in the preamble
reference to environment was maintained in the general exception, which recognizes a party’s right to regulate in the public interest, including measures to protect the environment (see dispute settlement and institutional chapter for more information)
So looks like an indirection to the “dispute settlement and institutional” chapter for the meat axe.
Trade and Labour Chapter
Provisions of the labour chapter are similar to those in recent Labour Cooperation Agreements (LCAs) with Peru, Colombia, Jordan, Panama and Honduras
level of obligations is higher than in previous LCAs, as it includes a commitment to effectively implement the fundamental International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions that each party has ratified respectively: to be confirmed
Includes commitments to ensure that national labour laws and policies in Canada and the EU respect the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) 1998 Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work
Includes a non-derogation clause that prevents either party from weakening its labour laws and lowering its labour standards in order to facilitate trade or encourage investment
Establishes civil-society advisory groups
Institutional structures set up to implement and monitor compliance with the established commitments
to provide views and advice regarding labour issues
creates a mechanism through which the public can raise concerns about labour issues related to the chapter
provinces and territories will be covered automatically by all of the provisions of the CETA
Dispute-settlement provisions up to the level of a review panel, which can issue recommendations
Back up under that dispute settlement part:
Most efficient and innovative process for state-to-state dispute settlement of any of Canada’s free trade agreements (FTAs)
Includes robust provisions on voluntary mediation
encourages and enables a more expedited resolution of CETA disputes
Builds on lessons learned from past experience
Significantly shorter than WTO dispute resolution process
Includes a single short process to determine whether a party has complied with a decision
Includes a process for ensuring panel composition even in the absence of an agreed roster to prevent a party from blocking a dispute by not allowing a roster to be developed
Efficient three-person panels
Specialized rosters and dispute settlement provisions for certain sectors, including:
Exceptions for measures with respect to cultural industries are included in various chapters to maintain Canada’s flexibility to protect and promote cultural industries, policies and programs
robust and innovative new approach, which provides protection as strong as, if not stronger than, previous FTAs
stakeholders from a range of cultural sectors (books, movies, television, music, performing and visual arts, among other areas) support the new, modernized format of the cultural industries exception
preamble recognizes the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions
exceptions for measures with respect to cultural industries will be included in the following areas:
cross-border trade in services
national treatment and market access for goods
A taxation article ensures protection for existing taxation measures as well as broad exceptions to ensure the ability of governments to implement efficient tax policies that are consistent with their overall social and economic objectives.
A general exception for certain measures, including
those necessary to protect human, animal, or plant life or health, or relating to the conservation of exhaustible natural resources
general exception is in line with those included in previous FTAs
So a 3 person panel will decide if you are conserving enough oil lands, or not… Note the exception is for the conservation, not the mining and use…
OK, that’s just the summary. It will take a while to dig through the actual document, and I’d encourage someone to do it. I’m already way over committed.
But I will do a ‘quick dip’ to see if the language looks, er, issue-prone.
In The Bowels of It
Well, already on page 2 in the preamble area we have issues.
CETA Canada European Union Comprehensive Trade agreement
their strong attachment to democracy and to fundamental rights as laid down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, done at Paris on 10 December 1948, and sharing the view that the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction poses a major threat to international security;
Just what in the heck does a declaration of human rights and a WMD provision have to do with trade rules? Maybe those are all well and good, but ought they not be under their own agreements? Why just incorporate by reference? Did anyone read them, too?
their commitment to promote sustainable development and the development of international trade in such a way as to contribute to sustainable development in its economic, social and environmental dimensions;
enterprises operating within their territory or subject to their jurisdiction to respect internationally recognised guidelines and principles of corporate social responsibility, including the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, and to pursue best practices of responsible business conduct;
this Agreement in a manner consistent with the enforcement of their respective labour and environmental laws and that enhances their levels of labour and environmental protection, and building upon their international commitments on labour and environmental matters;
Who defines what “sustainable development” is? When “committed to it” and as an “environmental dimension” does that mean only windmills are allowed, not oil and coal? Where are rights to “non-renewable” resources guaranteed? Eh?
Then “OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises” gets applied to “enterprises” without the multinational qualifier. OK… does that mean a load of “compliance” costs for every barbershop?
It does have “respective …laws” that’s good, but then obliquely draws in “international commitments” but only on labor and environment, everyone else can go pound sand…(but in an environmentally responsible way, I’m sure).
There’s 1598 pages of this stuff. Given the preamble, I’m pretty sure it will be festooned with all sorts of Club Of Rome inspired crap and leathers. Just finding the enforcement and “sustainable” sections will be a challenge.
Skipping down to the bottom (doing an ‘ends in’ look) has the carve outs for special interests. Things like pg 1190:
Sector: Health services
Sub-Sector: Veterinary services
Industry Classification: CPC 932
Type of Reservation: Market access
Level of Government: National
Measures: Veterinary Surgeons Act (1966)
Description: Investment and Cross-Border Trade in Services
Access through partnership or natural persons only.
Physical presence is required to perform veterinary surgery. It is a criminal act under the Veterinary Surgeons Act for anyone in the UK who is not a veterinary surgeon (and a member, therefore, of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS)) to perform veterinary surgery
So I guess if you are a farmer and have a gassy cow, venting their stomach so they don’t die is “right out”, and no tele-operated surgical robots allowed either. Guess the robotic surgical instrument companies weren’t at the table. Wonder if “docking sheep” is considered “surgery”…
It looks like these “reservations” begin on page 728 with Annex I. Guess a lot of special favors were handed out…
Annex 2 on page 710 has a list of things to be added to Annex 1 as a priority. I especially like “(f)Equipment placed on board a ship”
Around page 716 there is what looks like a section per drug makers, but might be more general. You get double inspections, oh joy. Either side regulatory agency can come inspect you. And you get to pay for it!
1.For the purposes of this Article, a fee includes a cost-recovery measure such as a user fee, a regulatory charge or an amount set under a contract.
2.A Party shall have the right to determine a fee applicable to manufacturing facilities in its territory, including fees related to issuing certificates of GMP compliance and fees related to inspections or on-site evaluations.
3.The fees charged to a manufacturing facility in case of an inspection or on-site evaluation conducted by a Party at the request of the other Party must be consistent with paragraph 2.
So any time either side wants to have a junket to the other side of the ocean, just head on over for an “inspection” all expenses paid via fees. What’s not to like?
It also looks like there are several “annex 1” sections, so likely each major partition gets a set of Annex docs.
Page 411 lists construction services and the section just before that has email and computer stuff along with a few dozen other services.
CETA Canada European Union Comprehensive Trade agreement
On page 200, the troughing busy body Civil Society Groups get to natter over the proceedings in disputes. So who set up WWF and Greenpeace as government agents?
11. If the final report of the Panel of Experts determines that a Party has not conformed with its obligations under this Chapter, the Parties shall engage in discussions and shall endeavour, within three months of the delivery of the final report, to identify an appropriate measure or, if appropriate, to decide upon a mutually satisfactory action plan. In these discussions, the Parties shall take into account the final report. The responding Party shall inform, in a timely manner, its civil society organisations, through the consultative mechanisms referred to in Article 24.13.5, and the requesting Party of its decision on any action or measure to be implemented. The Committee on Trade and Sustainable Development shall monitor the follow-up to the final report and the recommendations of the Panel of Experts. The civil society organisations, through the consultative mechanisms referred to in Article 24.13.5, and the Civil Society Forum may submit observations to the Committee on Trade and Sustainable Development in this regard.
Kommissars and non-elected NGOs running the show? This is representative democracy how? This is free trade how?
Oh, and forget your laws. This document is all you get.
1.For any dispute that arises under this Chapter, the Parties shall only have recourse to the rules and procedures provided for in this Chapter.
So you kiss off any idea of sovereignty and just take what Herr Kommissar tells you.
The Environmental Agreements Hook
Page 196 is interesting:
Cooperation on environment issues
1.The Parties recognise that enhanced cooperation is an important element to advance the objectives of this Chapter, and commit to cooperate on trade-related environmental issues of common interest, in areas such as:
(a)the potential impact of this Agreement on the environment and ways to enhance, prevent, or mitigate such impact, taking into account any impact assessment carried out by the Parties;
(b)activity in international fora dealing with issues relevant for both trade and environmental policies, including in particular the WTO, the OECD, the United Nations Environment Programme, and multilateral environmental
(c)the environmental dimension of corporate social responsibility and accountability, including the implementation and follow-up of internationally recognised guidelines;
(d)the trade impact of environmental regulations and standards as well as the environmental impact of trade and investment rules including on the development of environmental regulations and policy;
(e)trade-related aspects of the current and future international climate change regime, as well as domestic climate policies and programmes relating to mitigation and adaptation, including issues relating to carbon markets, ways to address adverse effects of trade on climate, as well as means to promote energy efficiency and the development and deployment of low-carbon and other climate-friendly technologies;
So it locks in the whole carbon “markets” and climate change crap. Looking up to the start of section 12, on page 192, we have the hook.
Context and objectives
The Parties recognise that the environment is a fundamental pillar of sustainable development and recognise the contribution that trade could make to sustainable development. The Parties stress that enhanced cooperation to protect and conserve the environment brings benefits that will:
(a)promote sustainable development;
(b)strengthen the environmental governance of the Parties;
(c)build upon international environmental agreements to which they are party; and
(d)complement the objectives of this Agreement
That pulls in the Paris Agreement.
So it pulls in Paris. It ties decision to only the mechanisms in this document, that is a Kommissar, Commission, and and keeps the NGOs in the loop. So you are one NGO lawsuit away from being hit over the head for failure to keep up the agreement if you violate the Paris crap.
It goes on from there with even more, but I think this is enough. One last bit, though. In any contract, when it spends a lot of time on a topic, you know that’s on the other parities mind a lot and is one of their key tools. They have a whole section on dragging in other “environmental agreements”. It’s a strategy, folks.
Multilateral environmental agreements
1.The Parties recognise the value of international environmental governance and agreements as a response of the international community to global or regional environmental problems and stress the need to enhance the mutual supportiveness between trade and environment policies, rules, and measures.
2.Each Party reaffirms its commitment to effectively implement in its law and practices, in its whole territory, the multilateral environmental agreements to which it is party.
3.The Parties commit to consult and cooperate as appropriate with respect to environmental issues of mutual interest related to multilateral environmental agreements, and in particular, trade-related issues. This commitment includes exchanging information on:
(a)the implementation of multilateral environmental agreements, to which a Party is party;
(b)on-going negotiations of new multilateral environmental agreements; and
(c)each Party’s respective views on becoming a party to additional multilateral environmental agreements.
So it isn’t even a political issue any more. The Politics is just a side show to distract you from the “Trade Agreements” where they put into The Supreme Law Of The Land commitments to other agreements, already made or in the future.
While we are arguing about CO2 sensitivity and clouds, they have a political dog and pony show to keep attention elsewhere and sneak enforcement into something that ought to just say “OK, we have free trade”.
This thing really needs to go to a Real Lawyer who can sort out all the indirect links and leveraged hooks.
What is very clear to me is that, since TPP has much the same in it, any and all “Trade Deals” needs to be fine tooth combed and all that crap taken out, or shit can them. It is partly about trade, but has a whole lot of Government By Greens strewn through it. That kind of thing does not happen by accident.