The newly formed Canadian Maritime and Supply Chain Coalition held a press conference voicing their worries concerning the Canadian-European Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA), and ”the lack of transparency that Canada’s government has had when making this deal,” said the Coalition in a release.
According to the Coalition, this free trade agreement will allow EU beneficially owned Flag of Convenience (FOC) vessels and so-called European National Flag to trade freely between Canadian ports without any restrictions on origin of the crew, or level of wage and working conditions, and thus completely halting the Canadian maritime transport sector’s growth.
Moreover, the Canadian Maritime and Supply Chain Coalition believes that the communities and regions that depend on this industry will be destroyed. Once this agreement is in place, the Coalition fears it will not take long before the rest of the Canadian transportation sectors are affected, including, air, road and rail.
“This agreement will have a severe negative impact on the Canadian Maritime Industry by opening domestic trade to foreign carriers, doing away with our Cabotage Laws,” said James Given, President, S.I.U. of Canada and Chair, Canadian Maritime and Supply Chain Coalition. “This is the most serious threat that we have ever and faced in our industry.”
This Canadian Maritime and Supply Chain Coalition was formed between the Seafarers’ International Union of Canada and members of global trade unions in response to ”the detrimental effects that Canadian-European Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) will have on the Canadian maritime industry and the rest of the logistic chain,” the release states.
On 18 October 2013, EU and Canada reached a political agreement on the key elements of CETA. The agreement’s goal was, among others, to remove over 99% of tariffs between the two economies and create a sizeable new market access to opportunities in services and investment, according to the statement made by the EU.