Labour Research July 2018


EU-Canada trade deal causes alarm

A trade deal between the European Union and Canada is causing growing alarm in the UK trade union movement.

Last month, the House of Commons was asked to ratify the 2,255-page Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada without being able to debate its contents or amend any part of it. 

The GMB general union said the deal makes a complete mockery of the government’s oft-stated Brexit objective of “bringing back control” as it will restrict present or future British governments from legislating in the public interest. 

A briefing on CETA by the UNISON public services union also warned that the deal would give trading partners the power to overturn UK laws, harm public services and set lower standards.

Just like the failed TTIP trade deal between the US and EU, unions have warned that CETA has the potential to reduce protective regulations in areas such as workers’ rights.

“It is effectively a treaty with the USA via the back door as 80% of American corporations have Canadian subsidiaries,” said the GMB’s international officer Bert Schouwenburg. 

He warned that the deal will tie the UK in for 20 years, even after leaving the EU, and that CETA is opposed by unions on both sides of the Atlantic.

“For the Conservative government to subsequently impose it on the British people without discussion or debate is a disgrace,” Schouwenburg added.