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    Thanks for finally writing about > :: Across the board :: sheerness</a>

    Nicolas Roux:

    Hi Petter, the documents are there:
    If you want to see all TiSA documents, just enter "tisa" in the filter box

    Petter Slaatre Titland, Attac Norway:

    Hi! Great article.
    But the link to the actual documents is circular - it goes back to the general TISA topic site, not the PDF documents. Can anyone post the leaked text so others can read them?

    Gill Buckland:

    ’Rinkevics said that not only CETA but also Canada’s decision to send troops to lead a multinational battalion of NATO forces in Latvia proved that Latvia represented a secure environment for businesses to thrive.’ This worries me. Why do we need NATO forces in relation to trade & Bi-laterals? Very unhappy & SUPER WORRIED ABOUT DEMOCRACY IN THE EU BECAUSE OF CETA & BILATERAL TRADE AGREEMENTS #STOPCETA

    Fiona McMurran:

    Of course the CETA will affect the right to regulate; the statements in the Joint Interpretative Framework are deliberately misleading, since they ignore the effect of the investor-state dispute settlement process to produce regulatory chill. Under the CETA, foreign corporations must be kept abreast of the the host country’s plans to regulate/legislate, and can therefore have input into the drafting of — or the cancellation of — any such regulations that might hinder the corporations right to make a profit. And let’s not forget that this also applies to subnational governments, including municipalities. As far as agriculture is concerned, the CETA benefits industrial agriculture, which is both directly and indirectly responsible for the reduction of small mixed farms in Canada. EU farmers rightly recognize that the CETA will allow the entry of huge chemical companies like Monsanto into the EU by the (Canadian) back door, despite the defeat of the TTIP.

    DIDIER Pierre:

    Comment pouvez-vous ignorer la disposition claire dans le CETA (et dans ses interprétations par les signataires) art. 8.9: "For the purpose of this Chapter, the Parties reaffirm their right to regulate within their territories to achieve legitimate policy objectives, such as the protection of
    public health, safety, the environment or public morals, social or consumer protection or the promotion and protection of cultural diversity.
    2. For greater certainty, the mere fact that a Party regulates, including through a modification to its laws, in a manner which negatively affects an investment or interferes with an investor’s expectations, including its expectations of profits, does not amount to a breach of an obligation under this Section". Contrairement à tous les accords bilatéraux existants, la compétence des tribunaux d’arbitrage est donc extrêmement limitée et vos prévisions de "fin de monde" s’apparentent bien davantage à la démagogie et au repli sur soi de Trump.

    DIDIER Pierre:

    On 27 February 2017 EU Commission replied to a parliamentary question 9211/2016 a.o.: "Investors have had the right to submit to investment tribunals in over 1400 bilateral investment treaties concluded by (EU) Member States, without this holding the EU or its Member States back from developing some of the most far-reaching policies on consumer, social, environment and health protection." Is this a wrong statement? Although the CETA (unlike the bilateral agreements) makes very clear that the ISDS cannot ever lead to a limitation of the EU and Canada’s freedom to regulate on these issues, have you any reason to believe that it might be different now? As to farmers, most supply their crop for processed agricultural products, exports of which will be much enhanced by the disappearance of customs duties on these products (between 10 and 25% in Canada) and by the protection of appellations.

    Valeria Donado :

    Hi, the name of Colombia’s Health Minister is Alejandro and not Antonio like it is written on the document. Besides that, great great article! Excellent base for investigation.

    Nicolas Roux:

    No you’re not being cynical. "Greater co-operation" rarely means higher standards

    Larry Powell:


    Interpretation, please? (What does "greater co-operation" really mean? Do you suppose it is "code" for less regulation & lower standards? Or am I just being cynical?)

    Bauwens Julien:

    Clearly safeguarded? No. First because of the negative list, which means they accorded on ’’all but...’’. So technically they accorded on GMO potatoes, because the precaution principle is only mentionned without restrictive effect. Second, the ’’Right to legislate’’ (Thanks the corporates for offering our countries such a benediction!) on the consummer protection, environment and so on is once again only mentionned without any restriction. It has less value than the ’’corporate and investor protection system’’, which is highly restrictive. There are tons of examples. And please, stop making this stupid amalgam with Trump, he used this arguments because ALENA was a disaster FOR PEOPLE, and unfortunately it worked. But most of us were more Sanders supporters if you want my opinion.

    DIDIER Pierre:

    Doomsday fears by merchants of angst: both signatories of CETA have clearly safeguarded their entire right to legislate domestically for the protection of consumers, environment, social values, human rights etc. In the EU there will never be any agreement by Commission, unanimity of member States and majority of European Parliament to decrease, abandon etc. any such protection. If ever an arbitration panel/court is set up, its competence will of course be limited by what the Parties have agreed to commit themselves. Please read the text of the CETA before spreading useless and ridiculous fears.
    Do not play in the hands of Trump !

    DIDIER Pierre:

    Trade agendas are dramatically reset by Trump. Do not weaken EU-Canada efforts to generate growth and fight inequality. The partners’ objectives are laid down in the EU-Canada Partnership Agreement ( .eu/doc/document/ST-5368-2016-REV-2/en/pdf) also adopted yesterday by the EP. This contains the most advanced, modern commitment that democratic states can undertake. Wish a (now provisionally dead) TTIP had contained same commitments but with or without Trump, the Ameicans would never.
    CETA is only the commercial part thereof and does not deserve your doomsday comments. Environment will be best protected by the parties’ coordinated efforts to implement the COP 21 (Paris Agreement). Human rights will be best defended by their commitments in their Partnership Agreement and by their coordination efforts in relevant multilateral conventions. Same for labour and consumers protection. How comes you dont understand that your after-truth, blind critics of the EU/Canada trade policies (especially of an arbitration system that, in CETA is firmly controlled) play in the hands of Trump?

    DIDIER Pierre:

    But who guaranteed that the CETA is a “mixed” agreement? True, the Commission proposed it to be so upon request of some member States. But the Treaty is clear that trade policy is EU exclusive competence, i.e. EP and member States’ governments meeting in the EU Council of Ministers. The General advocate in her Singapore Opinion has clearly distinguished the exclusive clauses from the mixed ones. The latter represent very little against the exclusive ones that cover free movement of goods (including agriculture), services, investments (including the principle of a form of arbitration), intellectual property, harmonisation of standards, trade defence instruments, competition etc. A political statement by the Commission (nor by the Council) could of course not overturn a competence clearly defined by the Treaties. Be confident that if the Commission did not respect the competences granted to it by the Treaties, citizens would fight it in courts…
    The General Advocate also proposed to administratively distinguish in a trade agreement between the exclusive competence clauses and the mixed competence ones. The first would be ratified immediately by the Council and the latter, in addition, by the parliaments, (much?) later on. The CETA does not have much to lose if it goes ahead without the mixed ones, the more that the latter are anyway provisionally applied.
    As to the arbitration formula, the Commission recently launched a public inquiry regarding how to make sure that arbiters/judges never ignore the basic principle, already clear in the CETA, that no arbitration findings could limit/influence the EU and Canada freedom to adopt any legislation for the protection of consumers, environment, minorities etc. etc. they deem fit. Pending the adoption by the EU of a definite arbitration formula, there is no way to consult the European Court of Justice nor any other court about a non-yet existing formula. How is it possible that all those that oppose EU trade competence (mostly on basis of after-truth and doomsday statements) play squarely in the hands of Trump?

    DIDIER Pierre:

    Much easier for third countries to extract concessions from the UK (63.5 million population) than from the EU bloc (508 million inhabitants). Trump and the others quickly understood. British citizens need be prepared to accomodaye GMOs, all kinds of chemicals now barred in EU, even less Financial control over banks, etc. etc.


    Isolating Mexico because they have lower labor rates than the USA. Are we suppose to feel good about the USA isolating Mexico? As if they have done something wrong. Oh, I get it, they are going to pay for that wall one way or another because The Donald says so. BUT I guess Canadian business people can feel OK. If they do, that about says it all.

    DIDIER Pierre:

    Un exemple de désinformation caricatural et populiste : Amis de la Terre, Trump, Le Pen, Farage même combat ? Tout ici est basé sur un procès d’intention de 28 Etats membres UE, du Canada et ses Provinces, la Commission UE, le parlement européen etc. complotant pour affaiblir les normes européennes et canadiennes au bénéfice de quelques multinationales.
    Le CETA en lui-même n’implique pourtant aucun changement aux normes existantes ou ne freine de futures garanties nouvelles. Tout changement (positif ou négatif) aux normes existantes, même infime, implique un changement des lois européennes ou canadiennes, donc le passage par le processus législatif normal, c’est-à-dire, en Europe, une proposition de la Commission, l’examen et l’accord de 28 Etats membres (souvent à l’unanimité) et du Parlement Européen. Bonne chance à ceux qui voudraient affaiblir les normes existantes ou empêcher des normes plus contraignantes au terme de ce processus. Franchement, ni les Etats membres, ni la Parlement Européen, ni le Canada ne sont le moins du monde prêts à abaisser leurs normes. Evidemment si tous les eurosceptiques s’abstiennent de voter lors des élections du prochain parlement européen, le risque est grand que seuls les populistes et les archi-libéraux à la Trump ne démantèlent ce qui existe et bloquent de nouvelles percées sociales, environnementales, droits humains etc. Mais ce ne sera pas la faute du CETA.

    Quant aux organes d’arbitrage entre investisseurs et parties signataires du CETA, la prétendue « monumentale arnaque » relève de la pure intoxication. Cet organe d’arbitrage n’a aucune autre compétence que d’assurer que les engagements pris par les parties dans l’accord, en particulier la non-discrimination de l’investisseur de l’autre partie par rapport aux investisseurs d e la partie hôte , soient respectés dans la lettre et l’esprit. Tant le texte de l’accord que celui de l’instrument interprétatif bilatéral (qui ne fait que reprendre en d’autres mots ce qui était clair dans le CETA) et des assurances données par la Commission et le gouvernement canadien garantissent que le CETA ne saurait restreindre la liberté des parties en matière de services publics, y compris l’éducation et les soins à la personne, de normes de travail, de normes environnementales, de protection des consommateurs, de réglementation des activités commerciales dans l’intérêt public (en particulier des prestataires de services financiers) etc.
    Par définition, un organe d’arbitrage créé par un accord commercial ne saurait imposer des obligations aux parties au delà de ce à quoi elles se sont engagées dans cet accord. Dès lors que les parties ont mis et confirmé des limites non ambiguës à leurs engagements, aucun organe d’arbitrage ne saurait les obliger à aller au delà de ce à quoi elles se sont engagées. Si, par impossible, un panel d’arbitres devenu sauvage ou fou, imposait à une partie de violer les limites de son engagement, par exemple en limitant son pouvoir de légiférer, la parties «condamnée» devrait et pourrait évidemment refuser de s’acquitter des dommages et intérêts alloués. Faut-il rappeler que les panels ne disposent d’aucun huissier ou force armée permettant de faire appliquer leurs conclusions. Seul le judiciaire pourrait leur donner force exécutoire (en jargon juridique ça s’appelle l’exequatur). Mais voir des tribunaux du judiciaire d’une partie obliger celle-ci à violer les termes et limites de son engagement, cela ne se voit pas souvent dans nos systèmes démocratiques!
    Quant aux « milliards d’euros » brandis par les auteurs de la note comme sanction pour une norme sociale, environnemental etc. maintenue ou nouvelle il faut rappeler que selon le CETA il appartient à l’investisseur lésé par une expropriation de démontrer la preuve et le montant du dommage subi. Un moindre bénéfice ne peut donner lieu à un recours devant le tribunal arbitral. La Cour Constitutionnelle allemande (saisie en parallèle à un arbitrage privé) a reconnu au suédois Vattenfall, producteur d’électricité nucléaire en Allemagne, le droit d’être indemnisé du fait de la décision allemande de fermer les centrales nucléaires, ce qui constituait une expropriation indirecte de l’entreprise. Vattenfall n’a jamais demandé l’annulation de la loi de sortie du nucléaire mais seulement à être indemnisé pour l’investissement colossal effectué de bonne foi en Allemagne, devenu inopérable. Est-ce choquant, anti-démocratique ? Quant à Philip Morris, son action devant un tribunal arbitral a été rejetée ( . Que des boites soucieuses de se faire de la pub se lancent dans des actions dont elles savent qu’elles n’aboutiront jamais, mais qui feront longtemps parler d’elles, ce n’est pas nouveau.
    Rappelons que ces cas et tous les autres ont été introduits dans le cadre d’accords de commerce bilatéraux qui, contrairement au CETA, ne limitaient pas strictement la compétence des organes d’arbitrage. Les Etat membres de l’UE ont des centaines d’accords bilatéraux de commerce ( qui, eux, ne contiennent pas la moindre limite à la compétence des panels (totalement privés ceux-là) d’arbitrage. Rien que la Belgique en compte 80 avec les pays les plus divers, dont 18 sont en cours de ratification . Au lieu de parler d’arnaque du CETA il conviendrait de souligner l’immense pas démocratique qu’il introduit tant dans la limite des compétences des arbitres que dans leur indépendance.
    Ceci signifie-t-il que la compétence de l’organe d’arbitrage prévu par le CETA est tellement encadrée qu’un tel organe est inutile ? Non. Imaginons qu’un groupe de presse canadien investisse en Hongrie et y diffuse des idées opposées à celles de M. Orban. Directement ou indirectement il sera vite exproprié. Imagine-t-on que la justice de Orban l’indemnisera ? Si un investisseur canadien construit un incinérateur de déchets à Naples, cet investissement créant de l’ombre à la mafia des déchets locale, son activité sera vite rendue impossible d’une manière ou d’une autre, l’autorité publique restant inactive. Imagine-t-on que tous les juges napolitains s’empresseront de l’indemniser ? Si un investisseur canadien construit un aéroport en Bulgarie, en concurrence avec un entrepreneur local proche du pouvoir, pourra-t-il exploiter son investissement. Sinon la justice bulgare l’indemnisera-t-elle pour un montant justifié, dans un délai raisonnable ?
    Que dire, dans un cadre autre que le CETA, d’investissements en Chine, Inde, Russie, Vietnam etc. où l’activité des investisseurs est souvent empêchée par un refus soudain de fournir de l’électricité, de l’eau, des matières premières etc. à moins de communiquer toute sa technologie, partager l’administration de l’investissement avec des fonctionnaires locaux etc. ? Dans son rapport 2016 sur les barrières à l’investissements dans 31 pays tiers, la Commission a relevé 1059 barrières ou discriminations à l’investissement affectant les européens. ( identifies 1059 trade restrictive measures and discriminations affecting EU investors in 31 selected third countries.

    Amis de la terre annonce que la ratification du CETA devra avoir l’accord des parlements nationaux/régionaux des Etats membres. Depuis les conclusions de l’avocat général de la Cour de Justice dans un cas concernant l’accord conclu avec Singapour - conclusions dont ils ne fait guère de doute qu’elles seront suivies par la Cour- pratiquement tous les chapitres de l’accord sont valablement adoptés par les seuls gouvernements des 28 (eux-mêmes bien entendu responsables devant leurs parlements) et par le Parlement européen. Seuls quelques points très secondaires requièrent en outre l’accord des parlements nationaux. L’avocate Générale elle-même suggère de scinder administrativement l’accord en deux entre les clauses essentielles, de compétence dite "exclusive" et celles dites "mixtes". Les premières seraient adoptées sans retard, les autres laissées à l’appréciation des parlements nationaux, éventuellement dans de nombreuses années.

    Dans des matières complexes, la post-vérité, le complotisme, l’invocation du « tous pourris », la déformation de faits, l’omission, se développent facilement sur le terrain fertile du populisme. A cet égard, le texte ici commenté est un chef-d’œuvre de désinformation.

    DIDIER Pierre:

    Sorry for a mistake in my comment above. The CETA was of course never ratified biut only signed.
    Lack of attentive re-lecture!

    DIDIER Pierre:

    Une erreur dans le commentaire ci-dessus: le CETA n’a évidemment pas été ratifié par l’UE et le Canada mais seulement signé.
    Sorry pour ce manque d’attention dans la relecture.

    DIDIER Pierre:

    This article is a superb example of caricature and populist disinformation : aitec/CEO, Trump, Le Pen, Farage etc. same fight ? Everything in that paper is based on intent shaming of the 28 EU member States that have ratified the CETA, of Canada and its provinces, the EU Commission, the European Parliament etc. plotting for weakening European and Canadian standards for the benefit of a few multinationals.
    The CETA, however, in itself, does not imply any single change (positive or negative) to existing standards or prevents adoption of future standards. Any change to existing standards, however tiny, requires a change in existing laws, thus passage through the normal legislative process, i.e., in Europe, a proposal by the Commission, the examination and adoption by the 28 Member States (often unanimous) and by the European Parliament. Good luck to those willing to weaken existing standards or prevent adoption of more stringent rules at the end of that process! Of course, if all euro-skeptics or alter-mondialists abstain in the coming European Parliament elections, the risk is serious that populists and arch-liberals the Trump style dismantle new environmental, social, human rights etc. developments. But this will not be the fault of the CETA.
    As to the arbitration bodies between investors and host parties to the CETA, the so-called “CETA Swindle” paper is pure intox. The arbitration body has no other competence than guaranteeing that the commitments taken by the parties in the trade agreement, particularly the non-discrimination principle, are respected in word and spirit. Both the text of the CETA, of the bilaterally agreed interpretative note (that merely confirms in other words what was clear in the CETA) and the guarantees given by the Commission and the Canadian government, guarantee that the CETA (including its ISDS provisions) cannot restrict the parties freedom to legislate as regards public services (including education and health), labor, environment, consumers protection, regulation of economic activities, human rights etc.
    By definition, an arbitration body created by a trade agreement cannot not impose on parties obligations that go further than what they have stated/limited in that agreement. Once parties have stated unambiguously limits to their commitments, no arbitration body could compel them to go beyond what they committed. If, by impossible a wild or mad panel imposed on a party to violate the limits of its commitments, for example by penalizing it for legislative (in)actions beyond reserved limits, the “condemned” party could of course refuse implementing that panel’s conclusion. Need to remember that panels have no bailiffs nor armed forced allowing them to have their conclusions enforced. Only the regular judicial could decide executive force (in legal slang this is called “exequatur”). However seeing the judiciary of a “condemned” Party compelling the to violate the terms and limits of its commitments is, the least one can say, non common in a democratic constituency!
    As to the “billions of Euros” referred to in the paper as sanction for breach of a commitment, let us recall that only proven damage caused by an expropriation (direct or indirect) can be indemnified. Mere lower profit due to the (non) action by a Party in the fields of competence of the arbitration body (essentially discrimination between foreign and local investors) does not allow recourse to arbitration. The German constitutional court ( )(seized in parallel with an arbitration procedure) admitted that the Swedish Vattenfall, producer of nuclear energy in Germany, be compensated for the German decision to close nuclear power plants, this being held an indirect expropriation. Vattenfall never asked for the repealing of the German law but only to be compensated for the colossal investment made in good faith in Germany, that had become idle. Is this chocking or undemocratic? As to Philip Morris, its action before an arbitration body was turned down ( That firms caring for pub launch actions they know will fail, just for blackmail, this is not new.
    Let us remind that these cases and all the others referred to by alter-mondialists took place in the frame of bilateral trade agreements that, unlike the CETA, do not in any way limit the remit of arbitration bodies’ competences. EU Member States have hundreds of these kinds of agreements containing unlimited competence of fully private arbitration bodies ( Belgium only has 80 such agreements with most countries of the world, 18 of which are in the process of ratification. Instead of accusing CETA of “swindle”, why not underline the real democratic progress it brings by the so far unknown strict limitations of the competences of the arbitration system?
    Is this meaning that the limits on competences entrusted to the CETA ISDS makes it useless? No. Suppose a Canadian press group settles in Hungary and diffuses there ideas opposed to those of Mr Orban. Directly or indirectly it will soon be expropriated. Could one imagine that Orban’s judiciary would indemnify that group? If a Canadian investor sets up a rubbish incinerator in Naples, this causing concern to the local rubbish mafia. Its activity will soon be interrupted, local authorities keeping blind. Would all Naples judges quickly and fully indemnify the group? If a Canadian investor builds an airport in Bulgaria, in competition with a local entrepreneur well introduced with local authorities. What about indemnification by local justice? Those are real-life situations.
    In another framework, what about indemnification for discriminatory practices common in China, India, Russia, Vietnam? The 2016 Commission report on Trade and Investment Barriers and Protectionist Trends ( identifies 1059 trade restrictive measures and discriminations affecting EU investors in 31 selected third countries.
    In complex matters, after-truth, complotism, accusation of “all rotten”, facts deformation, omissions easily develop on the fertile ground of current populism. The text herewith commented is a masterpiece of disinformation.

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