The European Parliament yesterday rejected a motion to ask the top European Union court to rule on the legality of the proposed Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). The rejection clears another hurdle on CETA’s road toward implementation next year.
Once implemented, the CETA could revoke up to 9,000 tariffs on industrial goods, agricultural products, and foodstuffs. Under the agreement, competition in the services sector (particularly the banking and insurance sectors) could also be stimulated, with financial companies from one side opening business on the other.
reported that the parliament vote is an early indication that lawmakers will ultimately back the trade agreement as it partially enters force next year.
The motion to have the CETA’s legality ruled on was brought by 89 members of parliament from the Greens and left-wing groupings, the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement from Italy, 31 Social Democrats and two liberals. It was rejected by 419 to 258 votes, Reuters
The group that brought the motion wanted the court to determine whether the CETA’s proposed investor court system is in compliance with EU laws. The group asserted that the deal breached provisions that companies should be treated like normal people in law.
If the court had ruled the trade agreement broke EU law, it would have led to a two-year delay of the deal’s implementation.
Supporters of the agreement said that parliament’s own legal service declared that the provisions of the CETA deal were in line with the EU’s regulations.
The agreement still has other hurdles to overcome; earlier this month activists in the Netherlands accumulated nearly enough of the signatures required to bring a referendum on the CETA deal.
Similar trade agreements such as the existing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the planned Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) have recently come under fire, with US President-elect Donald Trump announcing his intent to withdraw the US from the TPP and the TTIP plans being put on indefinite hold.
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