Thomas Pringle TD

Dáil Q: CETA – Irish Government committed to signing TTIP style deal without support of people



NO. 92
To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if she will set aside time in Dáil Éireann to discuss CETA before the signing of the provisional application at the next Council of Ministers’ meeting on 16 October 2016; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
– Thomas Pringle.

* For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 12th October, 2016.

Ref No: 29900/16


Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Ms Mitchell O’Connor)

The EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) is a comprehensive free trade agreement that will remove tariffs between the EU and Canada and will create sizeable new market access opportunities in services and investment.

CETA represents a modern high standard agreement which has the ability to set a new global standard for Trade Agreements. It will end limitations in access to public contracts, open up markets for services and offer predictable conditions for investors. I fully support and welcome CETA. Ireland stands to gain substantially from this agreement and I am looking forward to Irish firms enjoying the benefits and new opportunities as soon as possible.

CETA will save on duty costs as 99.6% of all industrial tariffs will be eliminated on entry into force. Irish firms will also benefit from the recognition of product standards and certification, thus saving on ‘double testing’ on both sides of the Atlantic. These are some of the benefits of the trade deal with Canada as well as providing new market opportunities in many sectors for Irish firms.

Given the position taken by Ireland and other Member States, the Commission has submitted CETA to the Council for decision as a mixed agreement. That is one requiring both EU and individual Member States ratification. As this process may take a number of years to complete the agreement provides for provisional application.

Provisional application is a standard process in Free Trade Agreements. This provides for the coming into effect of those areas over which the EU has competence. It will be a matter for the Council and the European Parliament to decide on the signature and provisional application of CETA.

Following concerns raised in a number of Member State parliaments and this House, the EU now proposes to exclude investment protection and investment dispute settlement from the provisional application of the Agreement. The EU and Canada are also finalising a legally binding Joint Declaration to provide further assurances in relation to the provision of public services, labour rights, environmental protection and investment.

The EU and Canada are working towards the signature of CETA at the EU-Canada Summit scheduled to take place on the 27th October 2016. Prior to this, the Council of EU Trade Ministers will meet in Luxembourg on 18th October 2016 to decide on the signature and provisional application of CETA.

In accordance with Article 218(8) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, the full entering into force of CETA will be subject, in the first instance, to a decision by the EU, through a Council decision with the consent of the Parliament, and secondly by the approval of all Member States through the relevant national ratification procedures. In this regard, Dáil Eireann will be a part of the final decision to ratify CETA in accordance with Article 29.5.2 of the Constitution.

In view of these recent developments including the exclusion of the Investment Protection provision from the provisional application of the Agreement and the proposed additional legal guarantee on public services, labour rights and environmental protection, I take the view that all the concerns raised by Deputies in this House have now been addressed. However, I am available to discuss any remaining concerns with Deputies if required.

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