Comments on Article 1.9 of CETA

 

Gus Van Harten
Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School

The last clause of article 1.9 in the CETA is very clear that the Agreement applies to water where put into commercial use. In turn, the investment chapter and ISDS (investor-state dispute settlement, renamed ICS in the final version of CETA) would apply to such situations.

In this framework, one can speculate reasonably about areas of regulation involving water that would by implication subject to the public financial risks and regulatory chill pressures created by the availability of ISDS to foreign owners of water-related assets.

However, it would also be possible to identify existing ISDS cases that related to water such as (a) the regulation, ownership, or operation of public water supplies, especially in circumstances of privatized ownership or operation, and (b) the regulation of water subject to a commercial agreement with a foreign investor. I can think of various cases involving (a) and one involving (b).

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Comments on Article 1.9 of CETA

 

Translation into English of comments written in Spanish by

Francesc La Roca
Professor, University of Valencia
Member of Fundación Nueva Cultura del Agua

“Water is not a commercial product like any other but, rather, a heritage which must be protected, defended and treated as such.” (Water Framework Directive)

CETA’s statement “water in its natural state (…) is not a good or a product” distorts the first recital of the Water Framework Directive, introducing a restrictive element that is not acceptable from a scientific point of view. It ignores the unitary nature of the water cycle and also ignores water limits in the planet, as well as the multifunctional nature of water in ecosystems.

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CETA and Water: A Guide for Activists

CETA and Water: A Guide for Activists

Brussels, October 2016

During the secret negotiations of the free trade agreement between the European Union and Canada (known as CETA), the European Commission always maintained that water would be excluded from the treaty, and that the choice on how to manage Services of General Economic Interest (SGEI) related to water (production and distribution of drinking water and sanitation, among others) by the public authorities would not be questioned. But a careful reading of the final text of CETA shows that the reality is different.

Food & Water Europe and the European Water Movement are really concerned about the impact CETA could have in water as a natural resource and in public water management. When one of the key controversies regarding this treaty are its impact on public services, we want to put on the table an analysis of its potential impacts on water, with the hope that it can be useful for activists around Europe campaigning to stop CETA.

The European Citizens Initiative on the Right to Water has been one of the most successful movements in Europe in the last few years. There is a lot of awareness raised about the importance of taking water back to public control, democratizing water management and that water should be a commons, not a commodity. We are sure we can build on that energy to help defeating CETA and other trade agreements, as one of the biggest threats we have seen of water commodification and privatization.

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