On Monday, I explained how CETA’s ISDS chapter could make a similar option in TTIP moot. I noted that CETA is very close to being signed, and that even if this is only the beginning of the ratification journey, it was an important milestone.
The site Earth Media Watch has some more information on what’s happening next:
Please find below a draft letter to heads of state or trade ministers of EU Member States. It can be sent ahead of the Sept 12 meeting of the EU Trade Policy Committee where Member States have the final opportunity to comment on the CETA text.
Here’s the key part of that letter:
On September 25, the European Commission and the Canadian government are planning to initial the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) at an event in Ottawa, Canada. The text for this trade deal includes a proposal for an Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) clause.
In January this year, the European Commission announced a public consultation on ISDS. Between March and July, some 150,000 citizens contributed to the consultation. An overwhelming majority expressed very clearly that they don’t want ISDS to be part of the trade agreement being negotiated with the US .
Even though the Commission has not yet finished analysing the contributions to the consultation, it decided to move ahead with this highly controversial mechanism and included it in the CETA agreement that is expected to be signed at the end of this month. We believe it would give an extremely worrying signal to European citizens if the opinion of those that took part in the consultation is ignored. It will only fuel the perception of many that the Commission is not listening to citizens.
On September 12, the EU Trade Policy Committee will meet in Brussels to discuss and agree on the CETA text. This will be the last opportunity for Member States to give their opinion on the draft final text of the agreement.
Considering the strong and legitimate concerns about ISDS and considering that the Commission is still analysing the results of its public consultation, we are asking you at this meeting to insist that the Commission removes the ISDS mechanism from the CETA agreement, and if the Commission is not willing to do so, that your country does not give its support to CETA.
The Earth Media Watch page gives a helpful list of European ministers that will be involved; for the UK, it suggests writing to Lord Livingston, [email protected]
We don’t have much time, and it’s unlikely his Lordship will listen given his previous statements, but I still think it’s worth letting him – and the UK government – know that they are (once more) riding roughshod over public opinion here. I urge you to write to him, perhaps using the Earth Media Watch letter or my own words below as a template. Whatever you do, please do it today...
I am writing to urge you to ask the European Commission to remove the ISDS chapter from CETA, which is nearing completion.
As you know, 150,000 people responded to the European Commission’s consultation on ISDS, the vast majority of whom rejected ISDS completely. If ISDS is included in CETA anyway, this will be a slap in the face of the British public, which contributed more responses to the consultation than any other nation.
In particular, failing to remove ISDS From CETA may well encourage more people in Scotland to vote “Yes” to independence, since they are likely to feel that Westminster does not represent their views any more. Given the extremely close nature of the vote, that might be enough to cause the “Yes” movement to win.
For this and many other compelling reasons to do with the inherently flawed nature of ISDS – something admitted even by Karel De Gucht – please insist that the Commission removes the ISDS mechanism from the CETA agreement, and indicate that the UK will withdraw its support from CETA if the chapter is not removed.
Thank you for your help.