PACE committee, citing human rights, asks EU and Canada to postpone signing of ‘concerning’ trade deal

PACE’s Social Affairs Committee has called for the signing of a new trade agreement between the EU and Canada to be postponed – on the grounds that it would “unacceptably restrict the powers of national parliaments to adopt legislation on matters within their remit”.

In a statement approved yesterday, the committee pointed out that signing of the provisional agreement on the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) would allow, with immediate effect, transnational investor companies to sue EU member states for laws they pass which affect investor profits, including those designed to protect public health, the environment or workers’ rights.

The Assembly is to debate this issue in January on the basis of two forthcoming reports – one by Geraint Davies (United Kingdom, SOC) on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and its implications, and another by Pieter Omtzigt (Netherlands, EPP/CD) on the human rights compatibility of investor-state arbitration agreements.