I am pro-trade and pro-investment. Our future prosperity depends on minimising the barriers that prevent us from exporting and creating the jobs and economic growth we need. In principle, I would therefore have welcomed a comprehensive trade deal with a longstanding ally such as Canada.
However, our trade policy must also protect workers’ rights, as well as our social, health and environmental regulations. In addition, it should preserve the right of governments to regulate and provide public services in the public interest. Unfortunately, I believe CETA contradicts these principles. I am particularly concerned about the agreement’s inclusion of an investment court system (ICS), which would allow foreign companies to sue governments outside of the domestic legal system.
As you will know, CETA was provisionally implemented in September 2017, meaning much of the agreement has already been brought into force. However, the ICS can only be introduced following ratification of CETA by all EU member states.
At the 2017 General Election, I stood on a manifesto that opposed parallel investor-state dispute systems for multinational corporations.
I can therefore assure you that I will not support ratification of the agreement when it comes before Parliament.