Seven years after negotiations began on the EU–Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), political leaders appear finally ready to sign the deal at a ceremony in Brussels in October 2016. Much has changed since then. For Europe, CETA started as a low-profile agreement with broad, if mostly disinterested, political support. It is now the target of a resurgent progressive coalition of social justice groups, environmental organisations and labour, who perceive the deal, correctly, as a threat to democracy on both sides of the Atlantic. Public opinion has also shifted, with many Europeans now keenly aware of the broad similarities between the imminent CETA and the politically toxic Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
In September 2014, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and German NGO PowerShift co-published an analysis ofthe final draft CETA text under the title ‘Making Sense of the CETA.’ This new edition analyses the final legal text of CETA as made available in February 2016, and is the most comprehensive independent review of the agreement to date. It finds that, more than just a trade deal, CETA is a sweeping constitution-style document restricting public policy options in areas as diverse as intellectual property rights (copyright, trademarks, patents and Internet governance), government procurement, food safety, financial regulation, the temporary movement of workers, domestic regulation and public services, to name just a few of the topics explored in this analysis.