CETA: the Making of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement Between Canada and the EU Notes de l'Ifri, April 2016
Once ratified, the Comprehensive and Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) could ultimately eliminate all tariff barriers between the European Union and Canada. CETA is also a new generation Free-Trade Agreement: it includes the opening of public procurement, the facilitation of cross investments and cooperation in the area of regulation. Its long negotiation process illustrated important changes that are happening in the way trade agreements are negotiated, both in Canada and in the EU.
A wide variety of actors was involved. Because the federal government of Canada cannot implement international commitments in areas of provincial jurisdiction, the European Union requested that the provinces should be included in the discussions – Quebec and Ontario being the most interested. From the EU side, Germany, France and the United Kingdom led the process. Labor and trade unions as well as lobbying groups also supported the project.
Following the signing of the agreement in October 2013, the ratification process was delayed because of the start of the TTIP negotiations between the European Union and the United States. Canadian civil society organizations had already expressed criticism, which was echoed by their European counterparts, particularly worried about the investor state dispute settlement (ISDS) system. The legal scrubbing phase resulted in a compromise on this point.
The new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who replaced Conservative leader Stephen Harper in October 2015, has considered the implementation of the agreement as Canada’s top priority regarding international trade.