The International Trade Practice Center on Bloomberg Law® provides in one comprehensive, time-saving resource.
By Bengt Ljung
Sept. 22 — European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem hopes to overcome EU trade ministers' resistance to an EU-Canada free-trade deal during a meeting Sept. 23 in Bratislava, Slovakia.
A joint declaration with Canada could allay some EU governments' fears of that public services, labor rights and environmental protection could be endangered, Malmstroem told Bloomberg BNA the day before the meeting of trade ministers from 28 EU countries.
Clarifying ministers' concerns could pave the way for full approval in October, she said. “I want to hear how the member states look at this, if it could be enough, a path forward.”
“I hope that the ministers can state that they feel ready within a few days to take a decision and sign the Canada agreement,” she told Bloomberg BNA of Sept. 22.
A strong anti-trade movement in Europe has whipped up opposition against the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and even more against the EU-U.S. accord, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which will have a less prominent role at the meeting.
“CETA is the most urgent agenda item because it's finished, it's ready to be ratified,” Malmstroem said.
With Germany firmly in the “yes camp” this week, the opponents now appear to be Austria and Belgium, she said, adding that the decision requires unanimity among the 28 EU countries.
After an unruly debate through the media, the time is right for trade ministers to discuss the Canadian deal face to face, she said.
The formal EU decision on CETA is scheduled for a foreign ministers' meeting Oct. 18.
At the Bratislava meeting, Malmstroem will report to the ministers on the European Commission's ongoing TTIP negotiations with the U.S.
“We have made some progress over the summer, but it's clear that quite a bit remains. It's not a deal that will land on the member states' desks anytime soon,” she said.
The trade commissioner repeated that with each day passing, it becomes more unlikely to reach the goal of finishing TTIP under the Obama administration.
“There's a lot left, and the election debate in the U.S. makes it more complicated,” the commissioner said, adding that there has been insufficient movement in areas the EU considers to be crucial.
“But it's important that we try to finish as much as possible under this administration and the Commission is ready to work until Jan. 19,” she said, referring to the day President Barack Obama will step down.
In the past, “fairly dramatic things” have happened after U.S. elections in lame-duck sessions. If Obama succeeds during that period and Congress ratifies the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), it would make things easier for TTIP, she said.
Malmstroem was attending a conference in Bratislava along with Canada's Minister for International Trade Chrystia Freeland, who was also promoting CETA.
Freeland praised the deal and said she saw it as a way to spread progressive trade policy to the world, with greater environmental protection as the top priority.
“Our government is so enthusiastic about CETA because Canada won't figure out a progressive trade policy on its own. We need a partner and the EU is the best there is for this,” she said.
“We have shared values. We believe in a social welfare state and also in the market,” she said.
Freeland said she was particularly proud of the groundbreaking concept in CETA of an investment court system for protecting investments.
To contact the reporter on this story: Bengt Ljung in Brussels at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jerome Ashton at email@example.com
Copyright © 2016 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)