We’ve received many queries recently about the EU trade deals with North America - TTIP with the USA and CETA with Canada. Here’s a quick update.
It is still unclear whether Britain will be bound by EU trade deals once the withdrawal process is over, and this issue is likely to be high on the agenda in future talks between the UK and the EU once article 50 is activated. But whatever the final settlement will be, the UK is likely to be impacted by the rules set by its major trading partners.
TTIP is gradually falling off the EU agenda, as opposition to the negotiations is mounting. The French Prime Minister said last week that there cannot be an agreement, while Italy’s trade minister predicted that the negotiations will fall through.
CETA, the trade deal with Canada, is at a much more advanced stage as the European Commission issued a recommendation on 5 July to EU trade ministers to sign the agreement. Ministers will now review the proposal, which could be adopted in the coming weeks. CETA would then be signed in Canada in October.
The signature of any international agreement must be confirmed by parliamentary ratification. EU trade deals are always subject to the approval of the European Parliament, which has veto power. We expect the agreement to be referred to the Parliament shortly after the formal signature in October, with a vote by MEPs on the ratification sometimes before the summer of 2017.
Labour MEPs will adopt a formal position on CETA ahead of this vote. But we’ve already set out a clear view of what a good trade agreement with North America looks like when we adopted our position on TTIP last year: we oppose a deal that would fail to fully protect all public services, including the NHS, that would weaken any of our labour, health or food standards, and that would include private tribunals for multinationals.
The Commission confirmed that CETA will also be subject to the ratification by all EU member states, in addition to the vote in the European Parliament. This had been requested by many member states but not by the current UK government.
We will keep you posted of future development, and remain fully committed to defending the interest of our region in all EU trade talks for as long as we remain in the EU.
Do let us know if you have any questions or comments and we will continue to keep you informed.