From top: Protests against CETA and TTIP in Brussels, Belgium; Dan Boyle
No trade deal is worth the introduction of anti-democratic measure to produce a newly created corporate ‘right’.
Dan Boyle writes:
CETA has been thwarted. For the uninitiated CETA is the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement agreed, but yet to be ratified, between Canada and The European Union.
It was to be the precursor agreement, the John The Baptist of trade deals, before the bringing into being of the TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) agreement with the United States.
This Messiah trade deal had been expected to kickstart the global economy.
The European Union elite is now aghast. There isn’t, nor has there ever been, a Plan B. The continuing strategy will be to keep trying to make the square fit the round hole.
Anti-globalisation activists are whooping in delight. For them a new world view can be perceived. However it’s probable that both the horror of the elite and the delight of the activists is misplaced.
Eventually trade deals will be put in place. The real question is whether the interval brought about by this stumble, will be used to achieve trade deals that don’t erode the best hopes for systems of participative democracy or the structures of fair societies.
The real lesson of Brexit, of Trump in the US, and the growth of a slew of far right parties across Europe, is that globalisation (as it has been applied) stinks. In developed countries it furthers the marginalisation for those already on the peripheries of such societies.
It widens the existing unacceptable levels of income inequality. It lessens the role of the State, through democratically elected governments, to affect positive change for citizens.
The mantra for any trade deal should be that you are free to trade with us as long as you adhere to our standards; standards on workers rights, on consumer protection, on preservation of the environment.
The willingness to dilute such rights for some questionable economic benefit, has helped to create the uncertain world of today.
CETA is less of a threat than TTIP in this regard. Where the stench remains is the attempt, through these agreements, to produce a newly created corporate ‘right’ to protect profit.
Through this ‘right’ corporations would be able to sue states that produce legislation, designed to enhance the rights of their citizens, if the result of the enforcement of such rights impact on corporations’ profits.
No trade deal is worth the introduction of such an anti-democratic measure.
It is time to step back. Time to do this better. Time to admit that free trade is never quite free. Time to accept that trade is but a part, and only a small part, of a more open world.
If we can get these things right then we might begin to think of a world that is really free.
Yesterday: The Set Menu