cetaInternational trade can be an ‘alphabet soup’ of acronyms. TTIP, CETA, TPP – it can be overwhelming! One thing that unites all these many acronyms, however, is that they’re all in trouble. For one reason or another, the big trade deals of the world are struggling.

Regional and bilateral Free Trade Agreements (FTAs; yet another acronym to memorise!) were once hailed as the solution to the stalled Doha Round of World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiations. However, the big beasts of the FTA world (including proposed EU trade deals with both the US and Canada, and a US trade deal with Pacific countries) aren’t faring much better than the multilateral WTO option.

The most recent hiccup comes in the form of the Belgian region of Wallonia, whose Socialist-led parliament recently voted against CETA, arguing that it would harm public services and farmers, and would give too much power to multinational corporations.

In order to approve the deal, the European Parliament and 38 national or regional parliaments across the EU must all vote in favour. Each country is demanding different concessions (for example, Romania and Bulgaria want visa-free travel to Canada for their citizens). In addition, public sympathy for free trade deals is cooling with, for example, both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton deploying more protectionist rhetoric.

First TTIP, now CETA? Why are so many trade deals struggling? What does this mean for the future of free trade? What will be the impact on the UK, which is gearing up to negotiate its own free trade deal with the EU? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – Campact

60 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar
    Christos Mouzeviris

    Because people don’t trust them… They don’t trust politicians, the political system, the banks, free trade, multinationals, capitalism itself and so on.. Fix the system, gain the people’s trust again, then you’ll be able to sign any further deals….

  2. avatar
    Ivan Burrows


    I wonder how many unelected EU commissioners stand to make a fortune from forcing though CETA & TTIP against the will of the people ?

    • avatar
      Rus Tego

      Just parroting a stupid slogan.

  3. avatar
    Tarquin Farquhar

    Because people don’t trust the GEU – German European Union!

    • avatar
      Adrian Limbidis

      No, moron.
      It is because these deals are not about “trade” at all.

      But don’t let FACTS get in the way of your job as an anti-EU troll.

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @Adrian Limpwrist
      Oh, I say!

      You do seem to be a tad aggressive old chap.

      Where do you hail from again?

  4. avatar
    カメニャク マリオ

    My biggest issue with all those deals are the above national courts, where corporations could sue countries for making laws that hurt those corporations.

    • avatar
      Rus Tego

      EU member States have already concluded a couple of thousand bilateral investment agree enti (BIT) that include private arbitration clauses. CETA Goes beyond that, proposing an internationa court, open to big and small alike. This argoment really does not stand up.

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @Rus Tego
      International court open to big and small alike. Really?

      Who is going to pay for the ‘little person’ to fight on a level playing field with ‘big corps’?

      Your argument really does NOT stand up!

  5. avatar
    Zisis Poimenidis

    Because : 1) all standarts and spesification of goods that are valid for USA would be valid for EU. Just thing of food and Monsanto 2) All state services can be privatized, which means public goods like water, electrisity ect. will not be public or state controled any more. 3) A company has the right to sue the state in a parallel sourt system with benefits over the state. 4) providers of internet services would be obliged to track and monitor peoples activities. 5) All EU labour rights should and will be attuned to those of USA. That means that working people would no more have any kind of rights and no right to syndicalism since all the above are considared to be an obstacle to free trade. Do you need more reasons?

  6. avatar

    Because frankly trade deals are not free trade. Aka trade without tariffs. This is the only acceptable system. Standards should still have to be met as for the destination country to assure consumer rights. Furthermore, trade deals should not impose restrictions on specific areas of trade. Saying things like “we will buy your phones from you tariff free, but only if you agree to source all your corn from us tariff free” Is absolutely anathema to “Free Trade”. Let’s be right about this, tariffs will never work if they are picked and chosen. In order to prompt globally high standards and globally competitive prices, the world needs to be free to buy from anywhere and to be ensured of manufacturing quality when doing so.

    • avatar
      James McManama

      Tariffs aren’t as relevant to discussions about trade as they once were. Non-tariff barriers are much more important now that we have the WTO. So, even a trade agreement that stipulated low or zero tariffs on all goods and services wouldn’t constitute free trade if technical barriers (e.g. standards regimes, certification, etc.) were overly onerous on cross-border trade. Which might be why it seems like these free trade deals “are not free trade” (because they have to deal with so much more than just tariffs).

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @James McManama
      Good point!

  7. avatar
    Bobi Dochev

    What a stupid question – BECAUSE THEY ARE BOT CRIME AGAINST EUROPEAN CITIZENS!!! They are bot negotiated without an transparency and because they are in favour of US/Canada and their big companies not for EU SME!!!
    Are you idiots?!!! Damn people!!!

  8. avatar
    Gabriel Apostol

    Because the negotiation are obscure and lacking transparency. If this is not enough to NOT accept such a deal, then this will (like a dark and dangerous bonus point for an already suspicious deal).
    ”Documents shed unprecedented light on controversial agreement, which includes provisions to allow US companies to help change European law and weaken consumer protections”


  9. avatar
    catherine benning

    The public across Europe does not want either of these idiot deals, that is why it is struggling.

    Why will the people who run this show not accept the wishes of the population? It is weird and smells of dictatorship.

    It is similar to the British Parliament, they simply will not accept the will of their employers, us. Every day in every way we get fed more and more propaganda of how terrible it will be for us outside of Europe and how we are going to suffer. They appear to believe we are idiots who cannot see we are being given a snow job. Now why is that?

    We find it terrible being part of Europe, because, we do not like domination from outside our shores. We do not want TTIP or any other manipulation of our life and society.

    Unfortunately, should our ludicrous government finally get around to invoking Article 50, it will still be two years before we are free to rid ourselves of outside control..

  10. avatar

    TTIP, CETA and all the others are not “free trade deals”. They are concoctions that allow companies to ride rough shod on people’s rights and countries’ courts.
    Thus they are to be shot down.

  11. avatar
    Nando Aidos

    TTIP, CETA and all the others are not “free trade deals”. They are concoctions that allow companies to ride rough shod on people’s rights and countries’ courts. There is no transparency. They are results of obscure negotiations.
    Thus they are to be shot down. One by one!

  12. avatar
    Manuel Alegria

    Porque estes tratados são fomentados pelos criminosos do costume, FMI, BCE, Wall Street, Goldman Sachs e outros da mesma laia. Com nenhum interesse nas pessoas…

  13. avatar
    Haris Iasonas Haralabides

    I can’t claim expertise in any of these trade agreements but it seems that those that benefit from the current status quo ante would attempt to boycott any progress.

    The agreements promote (as far as I know) free trade between the States and Canada and the EU. I am pretty confident that it’s a win-win situation for everybody (even for those who oppose the trade agreements due to them being short-sighted).

    Think of it: if someone is already economically established in the market why would he jeopardise his position by allowing more competitors to share the market pie with?

    In the meanwhile, citizens are being showered in brain-washing propaganda to come to hate free trade. The degree of success of the aforementioned propaganda is a testimony to the extent of economic illiteracy that exists everywhere in the world.

  14. avatar
    Lino Galveias

    Because people care about… people. And people and nature, the common home that is earth, are above all

  15. avatar
    Alex Tselentis

    Why because Europes dont want another MURICA in Europe, nor do they want to be finacially molested, if they havent already been by the US through its EU poodles in Brussels.

    • avatar
      Adrian Limbidis

      “A brexiter fantasy”

      Take your pick :)

  16. avatar
    Laurinda Seabra

    because they are a threat to local comunities and the sovereignty of countries. its an attempt state coup by big corporations and the people are saying NO way!

  17. avatar
    Cris Popa

    One plus point for Junker in this CETA/ TTIP mess… He intentionally alowed national governments to have a say in the decision. There is still hope for Europe to go against the ICS clause

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @Cris Popa
      JCJ is no hero. He was told to do so by his German masters!

      The German car industry is at its peak, the Americans car industry is regrouping, the Japanese already and have for a long time produced superior cars to the Germans and the Chinese are in the ascendance.

      Stifling competition by not permitting CETA/TTIP helps prolong the German car industry.

      Nuff said!

  18. avatar
    Andrea Scacchi

    If pretty cristalclear that the tycoons that runs europe are working against europeans interest.
    The only way for europeans to regain their right is abandoning the fourth reich and building a confederacy of free states against this “european union”

  19. avatar

    Walmart is wealthier than all but the wealthiest 9 countries! The combined wealth of the too 10 corporations worldwide is greater than that of the poorest 182 countries. Corporatocracy is inevitable. Wealth = power. We’re stuffed anyway – regardless of TTIP, CETA, ETC. It’s only a matter of time.

  20. avatar
    Stefania Portici

    dalla teoria dei Trickle Down Economics di Ronald Reagan e di Margaret Thatcher, cioè il Neoliberismo, cioè la scuola di Chicago, ovvero il purismo del Libero Mercato, da qui sono nate tutte le porcherie che vediamo ad iniziare dal WTO. . Il CETA è sostanzialmente il TTIP che cercano di farcelo passare in altro modo . Canada -USA accordo NAFTA . Se il CETA l’hanno bocciato hanno fatto bene .

    from the Trickle Down Economics theory of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, that is, neoliberalism, that the Chicago school, which is the purism of the Free Market, from here are born all the crap that we see starting with the WTO. . CETA is basically the TTIP trying to let go otherwise. Canada – USA NAFTA agreement. If CETA have rejected have done well.

  21. avatar
    A.c. Spyred

    The real question is :”Why European politics allows, multinational to deal with laws which are voted by people representants”.

  22. avatar
    Paul X

    Because trying to get 27 countries with different cultures and domestic agendas to agree on anything is impossible…. and there in lies the biggest issue with the EU and exactly why the UK will thrive outside of it

  23. avatar
    Anti-EU Citizen

    We will stall all the new deals and vote against everything that elites/politicians propouse.We have had enough and we want our nation states back.Pepole of every EU country vote only for the anti-EU parties in your countries.Let’s take this corrupt globalists system down together

  24. avatar
    Anti-EU Citizen

    The “trade” agreements are falling apart because the people are on to your agenda…

  25. avatar

    The reason people are (finally) turning against these “trade” treaties is simple. They do not benefit anyone but the rich corporations.

    Every single one of these trade treaties threatens workers rights, environmental protection and consumer protection. Also, they all threaten the political and legal system, as some seem to suggest corporations should have a separate legal system where they can sue governments to get compensated for increases in the minimum wage, the expense of meeting new environmental standards etc.

    There is not a single case of these free trade treaties that has ever benefitted anyone who isn’t rich and who isn’t a corporate executive. Free trade does not create jobs.

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