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Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement

Constituents have contacted me about the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada and Early Day Motion (EDM) 165.

I am afraid that I have decided not to sign any EDMs, as they are costly to the public purse to administer, and many require a spending commitment which the Government is unlikely to be able to support. The primary purpose of an EDM is to raise awareness of an issue, and while I do not underestimate the importance of raising awareness, I feel it is more valuable to take up an issue which I wish to support in another forum, such as with a Minister directly, or during a Parliamentary debate.

I do appreciate your concerns on this issue. As it stands, CETA is expected to be a “mixed” agreement, covering areas of both EU and Member State competence. In this case, it will be subject to agreement by each EU Member State, the EU Council and the European Parliament. In practice EU trade agreements which contain a mixture of EU and Member State competence are agreed by consensus, this means each Member State’s Parliament must agree before the treaty can fully come into force.

Following the UK’s vote to leave the European Union, the UK will need to begin the process of leaving the EU. Once the UK ceases to be an EU member state, we will no longer be a CETA party. CETA does not offer any mechanism for the UK to join as a non-EU member state and contains no provisions for accession by new parties, other than new EU member states. As such, we will need to reach new trade agreements with countries like Canada, and I will be following developments in this area closely.