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Canada-European Union: Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement

By 20 de noviembre de 2014No Comments

Canada and the European Union are about to present a trade agreement in order to help the first one export their products to the European Union with certain benefits, the CETA (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement).

One of those benefits for Canadian companies is to pay fewer customs duties. This means that Canadian companies (as well as some from the United States) can enter the European Union more easily for less money which will provide more power and commission to the multinationals.

But this treaty also includes an Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS), which is an instrument of public international law that grants an investor the right to use dispute settlement proceedings against a foreign government. The European Union has already signed this type of dispute settlement with the United States and this allows the multinationals to sue the countries where they invest in case the Host Country violates the rights granted to the investor. These rights would be violated by changing the agreement due to public concerns, such as health and environmental protection, labour rights or human rights. But the CETA agreement also includes a clause where those multinationals can still sue the Host country 20 years after the alliance is broken.

This agreement could affect our economy as well as our IP because all the multinationals could enter the EU more easily and if they can’t obtain the profits they were expecting to obtain they can sue any country and if they win this can put in danger the country’s economy. Canada is joining the Madrid Protocol, which makes it relatively easy to get your trade mark registered in multiple countries at the same time without having to file a separate application in each one. All the multinationals bring their own well known trademarks which used to compete with our national trademarks but until now it was too expensive for those multinationals to sell their products in the EU due to customs duties, what would happen now that they can use their trademarks freely? Would the national trademark become too expensive to buy or to promote? Will we be able to continue creating and selling our national trademarks in the EU?

Irean Navas

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