CETA deal will harm businesses, individuals, and provincial treasury
As the clock ticks down on the signing of the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement with Europe, the premier should come clean with what this latest international trade agreement means for the people of the province, says NDP Innovation, Business and Rural Development critic Christopher MItchelmore (MHA, The Straits-White Bay North).
“While the government has been silent on the CETA negotiations until the premier referred to them in a speech to the Board of Trade a couple of weeks ago, the members of our caucus have been seeking answers for a couple of years,” Mitchelmore said today.
“There are huge implications for the province that businesses and people in the province need to know about. It is disgraceful that the government has not been transparent about the effects CETA will have on our economy.”
While tariffs on some exports may come down, EU negotiators want increased access to Canadian raw fish and fish processing through removal of provincial minimum processing requirements, increased access to Canadian ports, and removal of foreign investment limits from Canadian fish plants.
The negotiators also want to delay the introduction of generic versions of new drugs for several years on top of the current 20. This will cost consumers and government in this province almost $50 million a year.
EU negotiators want provincial and municipal governments, school boards, hospitals and crown corporations to be prevented from including a preference for local labour or goods in their procurement policies. This will undermine sustainable development and local economic stimulation.
Finally, the “Investor rights clauses” mean governments could get sued for buy-local goods and services programs designed to help communities.
“It’s a lot to digest, but it’s important that people know the drastic effects CETA could have on the province,” said Mitchelmore. “The minister or the premier should be honest with us and let us know what to expect – and what they are doing to prevent these drastic changes.”