The Proposed EU-Canada Trade Agreement Raises Health Concerns in Both Canada and European Union

July 8, 2011
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The European Union (EU) and Canada are currently negotiating a new Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) (European Commission 2011). In early 2010, the negotiating text was leaked and posted to the Trade Justice Network website, raising a variety of red flags for European member states.

The draft agreement, described as more far-reaching and ambitious than any of either party’s previous free trade agreements, has already raised concerns in Canada. These focus on the extension of government procurement commitments to include local services (Sinclair 2010), the potential addition of investment protections (Sinclair 2011), and how EU demands in the field of intellectual property rights and enforcement will impact drug costs (Grootendorst and Hollis 2011).

Issues arising from the draft agreement are of substantial importance for health policymaking within the EU. While concerns in the two jurisdictions are not necessarily the same, from a health policy perspective many of the issues raised by Canadians are also relevant to EU member states. Negotiations are expected to conclude by early 2012.