EU To Vote On Legality Of Investor State Dispute Settlement In Trade

Activists in Luxembourg take part in a rally against the Comprehensive Economic & Trade Agreement (CETA). (Photo: Friends of the Earth Europe/cc/flickr)

By Ante Wessels for FFII – Members of the European Parliament want the EU’s Court of Justice to check whether a parallel legal system in the trade agreement with Canada (CETA) is compatible with the EU treaties. The parallel legal system, known as ISDS / ICS, is only accessible to foreign investors. Eighty-nine members tabled a resolution. The Parliament will vote next week, Wednesday 23 November 2016. According to associations of judges (one, two), academics (letter from over 100 law professors) and NGOs (ClientEarth, two pager), the ISDS / ICS parallel legal system is not compatible with the EU treaties.

People’s Revolt Stops Another Corporate Trade Deal CETA

Activists in Luxembourg take part in a rally against the Comprehensive Economic & Trade Agreement (CETA). (Photo: Friends of the Earth Europe/cc/flickr)

By Lauren McCauley for Common Dreams – With a Monday deadline, the European Union failed to reach consensus on the pending Canada-EU trade agreement, prompting campaigners to celebrate what they declared to be its final demise. After negotiations fell apart late last week, Belgium Prime Minister Charles Michel said Monday that he will not be able to join the other 27 EU nations and sign the Comprehensive Economic & Trade Agreement (CETA) because of entrenched opposition in the region of Wallonia to its pro-corporate provisions.

'Final Death Blow' To Pro-Corporate Deal

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By Lauren McCauley for CommonDreams. Dealing what campaigners say is the final “death blow” to the pro-corporate Canada-European Union trade deal, negotiations collapsed on Friday after representatives from the Belgian region of Wallonia refused to agree to a deal that continues ignore democracy in favor of multi-national corporations. Canada’s International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland reportedly walked out of talks with the Wallonia delegation, which had ruled to maintain their veto against the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) after the parties reached a stalemate over the controversial Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) system. “We made new significant progress, especially on the agriculture issues, but difficulties remain, specifically on the symbolic issue of arbitration, which is politically extremely important,” Wallonia president Paul Magnette told the regional parliament. ISDS permits companies to sue governments over perceived loss of profits due to regulations or other laws. Magnette had told reporters Thursday that the delegation had particular concerns over “matters affecting U.S. companies in Canada which will benefit from the system.”

Spain: Thousands Rally Against TTIP And CETA In Madrid

People demonstrate against the TTIP and CETA trade agreements in Leipzig, Germany, Sept. 17, 2016. Thousands of people are rallying in cities across Germany to protest against planned European Union trade deals with the United States and Canada. (Photo: AP)

By Staff of Ruptly TV – Over 10,000 people rallied against the TTIP, CETA and TISA trans-atlantic free trade agreements in Madrid, Saturday. Both NGO’s and local political groups took part in the huge march to protest against the multinational trade agreements. Protesters carried large banners with messages like ‘People and planet over multinational [corporations] – No to poverty, no to inequality, no to TTIP.’

Hundreds Of Thousands March In Germany Against TTIP, CETA

Consumer rights activists take part in a march to protest against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) in Frankfurt, Germany, September 17, 2016. (Photo: Reuters/Kai Pfaffenbach)

By Jon Queally for Common Dreams – Taking aim at both the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and theComprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), European Union deals with the United States and Canada respectively, opponents say the agreements are not really concerned with expanding trade but rather increasing corporate power. “CETA and TTIP threaten environmental and consumer protection for millions of people in Europe and North America,” said Jennifer Morgan, co-executive director of Greenpeace International.

Growing Opposition Forces EU Into ‘Humiliating Climbdown’ On CETA

Anti-CETA and -TTIP protests have been held across the European continent. (Photo: campact/flickr/cc

By Deirdre Fulton for Common Dreams – Previously, the deal was slated for a kind of “fast-track” process that would not have required nation-by-nation approval. As such, trade campaigners celebrated Tuesday’s news, saying the Commission’s reversal reflects growing opposition to CETA as well as the similarly toxic TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the U.S. and Europe.

Corporate Tax Avoidance Could Get Worse Under Trade Agreements

Protesters attend a rally against the proposed US-EU free trade pact in Berlin. Photograph: Gregor Fischer/AFP/Getty Images

By Staff of Global Justice Now – Corporations are regularly using secretive corporate courts to undermine the ability of countries to pass effective tax legislation, according to a new report,Taxes on trial: How trade deals threaten tax justice. The report warns that if the free trade deal being proposed between the EU and the USA were to come into force, it would massively increase the ability of corporations to sue member states of the EU over measures such as windfall taxes on exceptional profits, or use of taxation as a policy instrument such as a possible ‘sugar tax’.

The Empire Strikes Back: The Return Of The WTO

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By Polly Jones for Counter Punch – The last time the World Trade Organisation met was in December 2013. Back then neither the negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) nor the campaign to stop TTIP had even started. Trade seemed to be off the agenda and after years of stalled negotiations the WTO was expected to slowly become irrelevant. The WTO is meeting again this week but this time in Nairobi and for the first time in Africa, and I will be there. While there are some obvious similarities to previous WTO negotiations – fears that no agreement will be reached and entrenched positions of the global north and south – many other aspects are entirely different.

Polluters’ Paradise

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By Staff of Corporate Europe Observatory – Proposed special rights for corporations in EU trade deals such as CETA and TTIP threaten to prevent the necessary energy transition to tackle climate change. Polluting corporations are already using the dangerous investor privileges in trade and investment deals to challenge progressive energy policies. Read the full report in English, French and Spanish. Avoiding catastrophic climate change is the defining challenge of our time. If we are to have a chance of preventing extremely dangerous levels of global warming, much of the world’s fossil fuels – oil, coal and gas – must be left in the ground, unexploited.