Transatlantic Economic Agreements: Parsing CETA and TTIP

CIGI Paper No. 35

July 21, 2014

Completion of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) talks between Canada and the European Union has coincided with the beginning of the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the United States and the European Union. There is evidence that the CETA talks are not conclusively finalized, but that the Government of Canada wanted to expedite resolution of the agreement talks to avoid losing the European’s focus to the TTIP, and to prevent delay due to increasing debate surrounding contentious elements. Once finalized, the TTIP will be among the world’s largest trade agreements. This paper compares how CETA and the TTIP are similar and in what ways they are different. Given that the CETA talks are closer to finalization than the TTIP, this experience may be useful to determine how the TTIP negotiations might unfold, especially considering there have been suggestions that CETA is a “template” for the TTIP. These ideas are explored throughout this paper through the lens of five lessons learned so far in these negotiations: the agreements will take longer than expected; the agreements contain both “traditional” and “twenty-first century” components; the public is concerned about the agreements; regulatory convergence is difficult; and multilateralism still matters.

About the Author

Patricia Goff is a CIGI senior fellow. She is also a professor of political science at Wilfrid Laurier University and the Balsillie School of International Affairs.