At the Council of Ministers on October 25, the government approved an action plan for the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with Canada (CETA). It involves most particularly the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, the Ministry for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition, the Ministry of Economy and Finance, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food.
This plan represents a response to the report by the blue ribbon commission chaired by Katheline Schubert. In line with the President’s commitment, the commission analyzed the expected impact of the CETA on the environment, the climate, and health.
This action plan demonstrates the Government’s determination, along with that of the European Commission and EU member states, working closely with Canada, to make sure that the CETA is applied in an exemplary fashion, to step up its actions against climate change, and to be more ambitious when it comes to the environmental, social, and health-related aspects of European trade policy. It offers a concrete operational response to the checkpoints underlined by the Schubert Commission. Once implemented, this action plan will guarantee the effective enforcement of national and European health and environmental standards, and will ensure that trade policy is better at taking into account the challenges of sustainable development.
The plan has three major components:
1) Ensuring that the CETA is subject to exemplary implementing rules to guarantee that health and environmental standards will be applied, that they will be preserved, and that they will not be undermined by threats of abusive actions by foreign investors. Working closely with civil society, the CETA’s work and its impacts will be rigorously monitored, with total transparency. Stepped up controls will guarantee that European norms are applied to all imports, regardless of origin.
2) Implementing actions that complement the treaty in order to strengthen international cooperation on climate challenges. On a bilateral basis with Canada and within the EU, France will put forward concrete actions to combat climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, in conjunction with the many initiatives under way at the international level. France will also restart discussions at the national and European level on reducing the carbon footprint of fuels.
3) Ensuring that trade agreements give greater consideration to health and sustainable development challenges. France will demand more ambitious chapters on sustainable development in trade agreements and will require the implementation of their provisions to be mandatory. The goal is to ensure that trade agreements are fully consistent with European policies that contribute to sustainable development and the protection of human and plant health. In particular, France is demanding that the Paris Agreement constitute an essential part of the EU’s trade agreements.
Following the Council of Ministers and the presentation of the plan by the four responsible ministers – Jean-Yves le Drian, Nicolas Hulot, Bruno Le Maire and Stéphane Travert – Ministers of State Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne and Brune Poirson convened the Trade Policy Follow-Up Committee to present the action plans to parliamentarians and concerned stakeholders.