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To:
Jean-Luc Demarty, Director-General for Trade

CC:
Cecilia Malmström, Trade Commissioner 
Bernd Lange, MEP, International Trade Committee Chair 
Coordinating Members of the European Parliament International Trade Committee and
(Shadow-) Rapporteurs of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)

We are writing to you with regards to the publication of certain statements you recently made (TPC notes / EU trade policy ‘close to death’ if Canada deal fails / EU Members unsure how to apply CETA, 2 months from signing) , linking the very existence of European trade policy to the ratification of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).

The agreement with Canada marks a crossroads for European trade policy, shifting the focus far beyond traditional tariff-linked areas, and venturing into new issues such as regulatory cooperation and investment. These new provisions are the main reason why the Council, the European and national Parliaments need to be politically involved through thoughtful and progressive debates, and a final vote. Europe should have more self-belief and and trust its democratic processes. Should any institution decide to reject CETA, this will be in response to detrimental provisions, such as investment protection, and missed opportunities in the agreement, and not the prospective trading partner. Such a decision would be based on the belief that the agreement will not deliver the promised benefits – at least not into the hands of small businesses, citizens and the environment.

The CETA negotiations took place in a different era, with a different government in Canada and before the Commission undertook new efforts for transparency in trade deals. It is right that citizens get their say now, via their elected representatives. And now more than ever, people all over Europe are actively calling for political establishments to listen to their concerns and act accordingly. The debate on and potential rejection of CETA is not a death warrant for either trade policy or the EU. It is about finding a trade policy for the many and not the few, and ensuring that public policy development stands at its heart and is not an afterthought. It is a necessary wake-up call for the Commission: review your copy and bring back a real 21st century agreement.

We call on you to refrain from using this rhetoric and to allow the democratic process of scrutiny and vote to take place, without resorting to hyperbole or chantage.

Jos Dings
Executive Director, Transport & Environment

Monique Goyens
Director, European Consumer Organisation (BEUC)

Nina Renshaw
Secretary-General, European Public Health Alliance (EPHA)

Karla Hill
Director of Programmes, ClientEarth

Download the PDF version of the letter here

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