Analytic Study for the Friedrich-Ebert-StiftungAnalysis and evaluation of CETA from a consumer policy perspective

Gerald Spindler & Christian Thorun

Release date:
April 2016


The planned economic and trade agreement between the EU and Canada (CETA) as well as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the United States (TTIP) divides public opinion.

The study conducted on behalf of the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation evaluates the impact of CETA on consumer welfare. To this end, in a first step it analyses how various instruments for the reduction of non-tariff barriers to trade may impact consumer welfare. On this basis, the authors then consider possible impacts of CETA on the markets for foods, pharmaceuticals and medical devices, as well as privacy and financial services.

The main results of the study lead to five theses:

  1. In some areas, such as pharmaceuticals and medical devices and data protection, CETA will neither have a positive nor a negative effect.
  2. The possibility to restrict liberalization commitments for purposes of consumer protection is evaluated positively.
  3. The negative list approach chosen for cross-border trade liberalization is evaluated problematically because it limits the regulatory power of states. Also, the planned sanction mechanism concerning sustainability issues is evaluated critically.
  4. Due to numerous undefined legal concepts and rules, future legal interpretation will also be crucial.
  5. In the food sector, the authors come to a mixed evaluation of the treaty since trade-offs between sustainability goals and food production as well as food prices exist.

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