19 set CETA is two years old and takes four steps forward
Two years after the entry into force of CETA, the Director of the Centro Studi Italia Canada spoke on the PRO and No CETA debate, still polarized in Italy on ideological positions, highlighting four important points emerged exclusively from the data, which cannot be overlooked in view of the ratification decision.
Two years have passed since 21 September 2017 when CETA entered into force provisionally.
The adjective “provisional”, since then correctly used to define the condition of non-finality of the agreement, did not mean that the agreement, pending ratification by the individual states that make up the EU, was and is operational in all its forecasts (except for that relating to the chapter on the settlement of disputes between the State and the Investor which will also be discussed later).
From 21 September 2017, therefore, European and Canadian operators were able to benefit from the facilities provided for in the agreement.
The Centro Studi Italia Canada was among the first and few supporters of CETA, considered as a useful tool for the promotion and development of commercial relations, and not only, between Italy and Canada. In this perspective, the CSIC can only be pleased and satisfied that all that has been said in its pages, initiatives and conferences, to which it participated in various ways even before the Agreement came into force, is being confirmed as correct and true.
From September 2017 to date we have witnessed four major progress made by the CETA:
1 – Italian exports to Canada have grown.
From the first months after its entry into force, the data found a constant and significant growth now attested and verified on more than satisfactory levels, also mentioned by Il Sole 24 ore. We will not be here to scroll through tables and statistics on which to perhaps open a controversy over numbers: the mere fact that the NO CETA front is silent on the point is the proven proof that the data are all unequivocally on the rise.
The satisfaction of our operators is evident.
Not only was there an increase in the quantities of product exported to Canada, but also the type of goods increased. Products of Italian excellence, which could not be sold in Canada before the CETA came into force, now have free access and, most importantly, enjoy full protection against counterfeits.
And again, protected products on the national (European) territory and not included in the list of assets that, as recognized by the agreement, enjoy protection on Canadian territory, will in turn be recognized and protected thanks to the possibility offered by the new legislation Canadian on the subject (promulgated following the entry into force of CETA).
As the CSIC has already had the opportunity to affirm, a free trade agreement does not work miracles: if it is successful it is because its forecasts have effectively put the operators in the condition of doing well and (also) in this case the operators have done well, managing to seize the opportunities offered to them with skill.
2 –No toxic product has entered Europe.
The detractors of CETA have always feared the risk that the EU could be invaded by more or less toxic Canadian products following the entry into force of the agreement. This risk, often mentioned, has never materialized in two years and the reason is quite simple: an economic agreement is not capable of affecting European legislation, favoring somehow the circumvention or the overcoming of it. What is prohibited in the EU remains banned. As a consequence, if and if the if is emphasized, there are Canadian products considered toxic like the European legislation, such products, besides not being able to be “healed” by virtue of the existence of the agreement, never, never will be able to enter the EU.
This is exactly what is happening.
Perhaps someone would have liked to experience the pleasure of being able to divulge some – real and concrete – bad news: fortunately for everyone, this has not happened and the hope is that it will never happen, because this will mean that the controls of the EU are well carried out.
3 – The Court of Justice has ruled on the Dispute Resolution System.
As mentioned above, the only chapter of the CETA that is not yet executive is the one concerning the resolution of disputes between state and investor.
The topic had been (and remains) much discussed and considered one of the CETA vulnus, as well as the NO CETA workhorse. It has been argued from many sides that the possibility of settling such disputes with a third party with respect to those provided by national or EU jurisdictions represents a serious limitation of the power of the States, also taking into account the allegedly exclusively private nature of the body of jurisdiction provided for by the CETA and the rules of procedure contained therein, which would not have guaranteed the impartiality of the judges and equal treatment.
Upon appeal by Belgium, in order to settle any doubt as to the compatibility or otherwise of the “State – Investor dispute resolution” chapter, the Court of Justice has been asked about the matter.
With an opinion published in the spring of this year, the Court established the compatibility of CETA with EU law, both with reference to the sphere of competence of the internal jurisdictional body envisaged by CETA (as it is not suitable to affect the Union legal order):
both with regard to the compatibility of the procedure envisaged in the CETA, with the general principle of equal treatment; both as regards the compatibility of the dispute resolution procedure with the right of access to an independent judge.
In conclusion, the Court states that the formation mechanism of the court established in the agreement contains sufficient guarantees to ensure the independence of the members making up the same body
Even this ruling will not have pleased some, but the fact is that this was the opinion expressed by the European Court of Justice.
4 – The French National Assembly has ratified CETA.
The ratification, which will now have to be examined by the Senate, has been approved, not without opposition. With France, 13 European countries have ratified.
It is all too obvious to see how opposition to CETA is largely a purely ideological fact not based on concrete data. To argue that CETA penalizes Italian companies and Made in Italy is simply a wrong statement, contradicted by facts and data: no sector has suffered damage, on the contrary there is a generalized growth in exports. As the CSIC has already repeatedly argued, it is precisely the fault of the CETA detractors that the agreement has not yet registered a greater success: the absence of adequate promotion and training of Italian operators has certainly penalized the achievement of results which, despite strong opposition and lack of support, have nevertheless been recorded.
In conclusion, two years after its entry into force, CETA, on the sly, goes on successfully, in spite of those who, paradoxically, would have liked to have been able to see different and negative results for those entrepreneurs and consumers who declare they want to protect .
*Partner NCTM Studio Legale,
Director of the Centro Studi Italia Canada
and Vice-President of
Chamber of Commerce Italy – in Canada West