The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between the EU and Canada – a perspective of European SMEs

July 2016. CETA has just made the headlines because EU Member State governments succumbed to public pressure and decided that national parliaments need to have a say on it rather than just EU institutions. What’s at stake in a ratification process is a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’. On balance, given the proposal on the table, a ‘no’ would be preferable. Yet what should happen is a redesign of the proposal: it has merits in its principle endeavour, but too much of it is ill thought out and dangerous. This position paper analyses the CETA proposal for its potential impact on Small and Medium-sized Enterprises and finds that it threatens to undermine what good other EU policies are designed to do to SMEs.

This paper argues that:

1. CETA matters because it sets the standard for TTIP and future similar agreements.
2. Before the ratification of CETA its impact must be assessed based on the negotiated deal.
3. CETA needs to be reviewed sector-by-sector both for Canada and the EU
4. Negative Listing – identifying what is not covered – is a dangerous approach. It needs to be reassessed for its coherence with good regulation standards.
5. The Regulatory Cooperation Forum risks undermining the European precautionary principle and endangering the competitiveness of SMEs. It needs to go back to the drawing board.
6. CETA’s selective protection of Geographical Indications is discriminatory and harmful to SMEs. It needs to be rethought in relation to the long-standing, global GI protection system.
7. The Investor Court System undermines the legal order across the EU, does not guard against abusive international investor behaviour, and discriminates against SMEs. It must be removed from CETA.

Please find here the whole position paper: The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between the EU and Canada: threatening to do more harm than good to SMEs