On 13 September Silvana Koch-Mehrin wrote the following letter in the EU-affairs journal ‘European Voice’ in response to an opinion piece which attempted to create myths about the EU-Canada Trade Agrement which is currently being negotiated:
Gold-plated trade agreement
Dispelling the myth of an alleged “bad precedent” concerning the free-trade agreement between the EU and Canada (CETA)
A lack of knowledge fuels myths. Scaremongers are now trying to create the myth of an alleged “bad precedent” concerning the free-trade agreement between the EU and Canada (CETA) (“A trade deal that sets a bad precedent”, 26 July-5 September). But there is no substance behind such headlines. On the contrary, there are few countries in the world with as much in common as the EU and Canada. We are partners in the G8, G20 and NATO, share values of an open, liberal democracy and market economy.
With regional trade plateauxing in both North America and Europe, and – conversely – the Doha multilateral negotiations stalling, CETA, when concluded, will for the EU be the most important trade agreement negotiated, having significant economic and political ramifications. A joint study by the European Commission and the government of Canada found that two-way liberalised trade could expand by €25.7 billion, or 22.9%.
As for the accusations in the opinion piece you carried, the controversy which erupted about CETA and ACTA stemmed from documents dated February 2012, months before the European Parliament rejected ACTA. It is irresponsible to question the agreement based on outdated information. Furthermore, the provisions on investment derive from the exclusive EU competence under the Lisbon treaty. Investments are costly and risky and therefore need to be protected on both sides.
CETA is a once-in-a-generation chance: it could set an example for the rest of the world. It could even act as a prelude to a wider transatlantic agreement that would include the United States. Both sides want to get this agreement done. So myths do not get us any further in trade.
Silvana Koch-Mehrin MEP