Will Europe’s Free Trade Deals with Canada and the USA benefit European businesses? Europe’s SMEs are not convinced.

7 February 2017. A multi-national survey conducted by Dutch Survey company Motivaction and just published by the Fair Economy Alliance (in collaboration with the Schöpflin Foundation) spoke to nearly 2000 SMEs across five EU countries (France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Lithuania and Slovenia) to find out their views on the proposed free-trade deals with Canada and the United States and to inform and mobilise them while the political process is still open. Four majority views across the surveyed countries stick out from a considerable variety of attitudes: (a) the expectation that larger companies will be the greatest beneficiaries from CETA/TTIP and that smaller companies will be disadvantaged, (b) that technical regulations, standards and norms should not be laid down in bilateral agreements, (c) the expectation that the effects of investor-state arbitration (ISDS/ICS) will undermine the rights of their companies (d) that ISDS/ICS will favour foreign companies and limit what their national governments can do. These findings chime with the most prominent criticism of the trade deals.