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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 187-191
 Header Item Trade Agreements

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 926 No. 2

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Written Answers Nos. 187-191

Trade Agreements

 187. Deputy Thomas Pringle Information on Thomas Pringle Zoom on Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor further to Parliamentary Question No. 92 of 12 October 2016, if she will provide clarity on the authority of her statement in relation to an EU Council decision not to include the ICS as part of the provisional application of CETA, taking into account this decision has not been made public and is in direct contradiction of the Commission proposal published in July 2016 which proposed to provisionally apply the whole agreement; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32176/16]

 188. Deputy Thomas Pringle Information on Thomas Pringle Zoom on Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor her views on the fact that the ICS aspect of CETA remains an element of the finalised text of the trade agreement and that this could create a regulatory chilling effect on its potential implementation at some future date; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32177/16]

 189. Deputy Thomas Pringle Information on Thomas Pringle Zoom on Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor the reason Ireland is prepared to advance CETA to authorise its signing and contemplate some degree of provisional application in the absence of CJEU on the EU-Singapore free trade agreement, EUSFTA; the reason further clarification is needed on the matter of competencies for the elements of the agreement; if she will obtain clarification from the CJEU on the legality of the investment court system; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32178/16]

 190. Deputy Thomas Pringle Information on Thomas Pringle Zoom on Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor the way the policy decision of the Government on the matter of provisionally applying CETA complies with its legal obligations under Article 7 of the Aarhus Convention in respect of public participation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32179/16]

 191. Deputy Thomas Pringle Information on Thomas Pringle Zoom on Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor if Ireland will call for an agreement that any member state may unilaterally withdraw from the provisional application of CETA; if Ireland will oppose any action or call to pressurise any state or region opposing this agreement; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32180/16]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor): Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor I propose to take Questions Nos. 187 to 191, inclusive, together.

  The EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) is a new generation agreement that will remove tariffs between the EU and Canada and will create sizeable new market access opportunities in services and investment. It will open access to public procurements opportunities, open up markets for services and offer predictable conditions for investors. It is a matter of regret that one Member State was not in a position to approve the provisional application of this Agreement. CETA has the potential to provide new market opportunities in many sectors for Irish firms.

  The draft Council on the provisional application of CETA is publicly available through the website of the Council of the European Union http://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-10974-2016-INIT/en/pdf. The deputy will note from the draft decision that it is not proposed to provisionally apply investment protection or investment dispute resolution provisions. Provisional application is a standard process in Free Trade Agreements which provides for the coming into effect of those areas over which the EU has competence. Provisional application will not apply to those areas over which Member States have competence. Accordingly, I support provisional application as I am keen to see Irish firms enjoy the tariff free benefits and new business opportunities as soon as possible.

  The full entering into force of the agreement will be subject, in the first instance, to a decision by the EU, through a Council decision with the consent of the Parliament, and secondly by the approval of all Member States through the relevant national ratification procedures. In this regard, Dáil Eireann will be a part of the final decision to ratify CETA in accordance with Article 29.5.2 of the Constitution.

  To meet the political concerns of certain Member States, the EU and Canada developed a legally binding Joint Interpretative Declaration to provide further assurances in relation to public services, labour rights, environmental protection and investment.

  Article 7 of the Aarhus Convention requires Parties to provide public participation during preparation of plans, programmes and policies relating to the environment. CETA does not give the EU or Canada the power to change each other's regulations, nor prevent either from introducing new environmental legislation.


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