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MEPs Reject Call For Court Review Of CETA

by Ulrika Lomas, Tax-News.com, Brussels

30 November 2016


The European Parliament has rejected a request by 89 Members of European Parliament (MEPs) to refer the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for an opinion.

The referral request was rejected by 419 votes to 258, with 22 abstentions. The decision paves the way for a vote on the agreement itself.

Eighty-nine MEPs had questioned whether CETA's investor protection provisions are in line with the right of governments to regulate to achieve legitimate public policy aims.

Under Parliament's Rules of Procedure, the committee responsible, a political group, or at least one-tenth of MEPs may propose that Parliament seek an opinion from the ECJ on the compatibility of an international agreement with the EU's treaties before a full parliamentary vote is taken on that agreement. In June, the European Parliament's Legal Service found no contradiction between CETA's investment chapter and the EU's treaties.

Rapporteur Daniel Caspary said: "Our legal experts said that CETA had no effect on our legal framework, on the competencies of the EU, or on our constitutional rights. This agreement provides an answer to our concerns regarding globalization without causing problems for democracy."

CETA was signed on October 30, after a deadlock with Belgium's French-speaking regions was broken. The Canadian Government introduced implementing legislation to its parliament the next day.

Upon entry into force, 98 percent of EU tariff lines will be duty-free for goods that originate in Canada. Within seven years, 99 percent of EU tariff lines will be duty-free. Currently, around 25 percent of EU tariff lines on which Canadian goods are exported enter the EU duty-free.

Customs duties on industrial products traded between the EU and Canada will be eliminated seven years after CETA's entry into force. Nearly 92 percent of EU agriculture and food products will be exported to Canada duty-free, and CETA will abolish tariffs on wines and spirits.

TAGS: court | investment | free trade agreement (FTA) | Belgium | law | tariffs | trade treaty | food | agreements | legislation | Canada | standards | regulation | trade | European Union (EU) | Europe

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