CETA delivers lucrative markets to European exporters, empty promises to Canadian farmers, says NFU

(Saskatoon, September 26, 2014) -Today the federal government is celebrating theCanada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) in spite of massive opposition from citizens, including farmers, on both sides of the Atlantic. The text of the deal has finally been released, exposing its empty promises to the Canadian public only after the negotiations are closed. The National Farmers Union (NFU) has analysed leaked texts that show CETA will have huge negative consequences for Canadian farmers, our economy and our sovereignty. Now that the full agreement is available for all to see, it will become clear that the facts do not support the government’s spin.
 
“While the government claims CETA gives farmers access to European Union (EU) markets, CETA changes nothing regarding Europe’s commitment to avoiding food made from genetically modified crops, beef raised with hormones and pork raised with growth promoters,” said Ann Slater, NFU Vice President of Policy. “Yet, CETA takes away the equivalent of all of Nova Scotia’s milk production from Canadian dairy producers by allowing increased tariff-free imports of cheese from the heavily subsidized EU. CETA gives Europe a significant part of our market, and Canadian farmers get empty promises in return.”
 
“The Intellectual Property Rights measures in CETA are deeply concerning,” said Terry Boehm, Chair of the NFU Seed and Trade Committee. “CETA commits Canada to give seed companies the ability to ask the courts to seize the assets and equipment of farmers for alleged infringement on patent rights or plant breeders’ rights even before the case is heard. CETA, combined with Bill C-18, the agriculture omnibus bill, would drastically undermine farmers’ control over seed, reducing both their incomes and their autonomy.”
 
“From the beginning, the EU’s top priority with CETA has been access to local procurement. Canada’s negotiators have sacrificed this valuable public policy instrument by agreeing to give European companies the right to compete for all local contracts above fairly low thresholds. Procurement, including buy local food policies, allows all levels of government, schools, hospitals and prisons to use their buying power to support the values and interests of their own communities. With CETA, this tool is severely weakened,” said Slater.
 
“CETA is not a trade deal, it is in effect, a re-write of Canada’s economic constitution, being done behind closed doors for the benefit of corporations,” said Jan Slomp, NFU President. “We reject CETA’s investor-state dispute settlement mechanism that would allow companies to sue governments that pass laws they don’t like. Yet our Prime Minister is prepared to give the multinational corporations a rope to tie the hands of our elected representatives and a sword to slash the laws that get in the way of profits.”
 
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For more information:
Jan Slomp, NFU President: (403) 843-2068; (403) 704-4364 (cell); marian.jan@gmail.com
Ann Slater, NFU Vice President of Policy: (519) 349-2448; aslater@quadro.net
Terry Boehm, NFU Seed and Trade Committee: (306) 255-7638 (cell); (306) 255-2880