[JURIST] The EUParliament [official website] on Wednesday approved [press release] the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the EU. CETA was passed by 408 votes to 254, with 33 abstentions. The deal, which , has been under negotiation since May 2009could come into force as early as April. The deal will remove tariffs on most traded goods and services and also provides for the mutual recognition of certification for a wide range of products. Citizens of the EU have expressed concerns that the deal gives too much power to multinational companies and that the respective governments will not be able to legislate to protect health, safety, or the environment and measures in the deal itself have been incorporated to alleviate fears that CETA will give too much power to big business.
The ratification of CETA [BBC info video] has been a multi-year controversy. Last October representatives from the EU and Canada signed provisional CETA documents [JURIST report] before it was brought for wider ratification. Last August three German organizations, Campact, foodwatch and Mehr Demokratie [JURIST report], submitted a complaint against the CETA to the Federal Constitutional Court. With more than 125,000 signatures, the activists claimed the complaint to be the largest public suit in the nation's history. In a press release, foodwatch stated that the trade agreement violates Basic Law in four different respects. The trade agreement between the EU and Canada was reached [JURIST report] in 2013. At that point, CETA had been in negotiation for four years. The alliance would provide Canada with greater reach into the European market and eliminate as much as 98 percent of all tariffs. The EU has endorsed the notion that CETA will comply fully with European standards for workers and safety.