The EU – Canada trade agreement (CETA) contains the same draconian civil and criminal measures as ACTA, see Michael Geist. He recommends: “With anti-ACTA sentiment spreading across Europe, Canada should push to remove the intellectual property chapter from CETA altogether.”
I agree completely: trade agreements and IP regulations have to be disentangled.
“CETA must be cancelled altogether (or its repressive ACTA parts must be scrapped), or face the same fate as ACTA in the Parliament”, La Quadrature warns.
But this is not all. The upcoming trade agreements also contain investment protections. Of course, foreign investors have to be protected against expropriations. But such protections totally ran out of hand. Even if a country changes its laws, foreign investors now claim damages because their expected profits are lower. And they do not have to do that for local courts, but can do that for secret private arbitration courts. The high damages keep legislators hostage. The secret private arbitration courts disregard fundamental rights, even public health.
This does not seem compatible with the EU Treaties: only the European Court of Justice can be the highest court on EU law.
There is much discussion on how to balance the power between the EU and the EU Member States. That is an important discussion. But with such investor protections, we give away sovereignty to multinationals.
Health groups recommend (with regards the EU – India trade agreement):
“In order to ensure that the EU-India FTA will not undermine the abilities of the EU or India to regulate in the public interest, including in support of health and access to medicines, the threat posed by the investment chapter must be addressed. Therefore, the Parties should:
• Remove “intellectual property rights (IPR), including goodwill, technical processes and know-how as conferred by law” from the definition of “investment” in the investment chapter of the proposed EU-India FTA;
• Remove the “investor-to-state” arbitration mechanism from the investment chapter;
• Define “Indirect expropriation” and “fair and equitable treatment” precisely and narrowly to protect legitimate government regulations in support of public health, access to medicines and other public interests from challenge by foreign investors;
• Immediately review and reform all existing BITs between European countries and India to effect the same changes recommended above.”
Any trade agreement containing investor-to-state arbitration mechanisms should never pass the European Parliament. They are an assault on democracy.
Public Citizen has an excellent overview of the investment protections in the TPP (PDF)