GMB Experts in the World of Work
Join GMB today
 Follow @GMB_union

Government 'To Sign Away Sovereignty'

Tuesday, June 26, 2018



CETA amounts to a full frontal attack on Parliamentary democracy and any concept of national sovereignty and makes a complete mockery of the Government’s oft-stated objective of ‘bringing back control’ says GMB.

GMB, Britain’s general union, has criticised a Government plan to sign away UK sovereignty in a mega trade deal without MPs having their say in Parliament.

On June 26, the House of Commons will be asked to ratify the 2,255 page Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada without being able to debate its contents or amend any part of it, even though it contains provisions that will potentially affect every man, woman and child in the UK.

The deal will also restrict present or future British governments from legislating in the public interest.

It constitutes a direct attack on national sovereignty and makes a mockery of Conservative claims that Brexit is about bringing back control. [See notes to editors for some of CETA’s more controversial measures]

Bert Schouwenburg, GMB International Officer, said:

“Across Europe, there has been massive public opposition to this dreadful treaty but the European Parliament approved it anyway in February 2017.

“For the Conservative Government to subsequently impose it on the British people without discussion or debate is a disgrace -  though it does serve to illustrate what we can expect after Brexit when they will be free to negotiate their own trade deals that will doubtless be in nobody’s interests except for the transnational business community.

“Moreover, it is effectively a treaty with the USA via the back door as 80% of American corporations have Canadian subsidiaries -  this is TTIP through the backdoor.

“What CETA amounts to is a full frontal attack on Parliamentary democracy and any concept of national sovereignty, and makes a complete mockery of the Government’s oft stated objective of ‘bringing back control’."


Contact:  GMB Press office 07958 156846

Notes to editors:

Amongst other measures CETA will:

Be the first EU trade agreement to include an investor state dispute (ISDS) mechanism that will allow corporations to sue elected governments that restrict their ability to make profits

Introduce a negative list for service liberalisation that will prevent the UK government from keeping health, education, post or rail services under public control

Include ‘standstill’ and ‘ratchet’ clauses that stop countries reversing existing liberalisation commitments

Give no export assistance to small and medium sized enterprises

Not register geographical indicators such as Red Leicester or Cheddar Cheese to protect British food producers

Not include any clauses on labour rights

Threaten European established regulatory standards and the ‘Precautionary Principle’

Threaten UK commitment to climate change mitigation by dilution of the EU Fuel Quality Directive that will allow the export of highly polluting tar sands oil

Represent a de facto trade agreement with the USA as over 80% of their corporations have Canadian subsidies


Share this page