CETA trade deal puts EU food and agriculture standards at risk

Press release by Greenpeace and IATP

Amsterdam, 20 September 2017 – The EU-Canada trade and investment deal, known as CETA, comes with considerable risks for European standards regarding environment, animal welfare and food safety, Greenpeace and IATP warn. The trade deal gives North American corporations various tools they can use to weaken European standards regarding growth hormones, chemical washes, GMOs, animal cloning and Country of Origin Labelling.

21 September is the first day of CETA’s ‘provisional application’, when over 90 percent [1] of the deal enters into force, even before national and regional parliaments of EU member states have approved it. The provisional application includes lower tariffs, expanded trade and ‘regulatory cooperation’, which gives corporations privileged access to decisionmakers. Many member state parliaments have questions about CETA and rightfully so. Belgium asked an opinion of the European Court of Justice about the Investment Court System 2 weeks ago, on September 6. Today, Greenpeace and IATP publish three Briefing Papers on CETA which highlight major concerns on food and agriculture.

Greenpeace spokesperson Kees Kodde said: “Canada has weaker food safety standards than the EU, and a farm economy more heavily dependent on chemical inputs and GMOs. This deal gives North American agribusiness various tools to attack European standards. What they have not achieved so far via the WTO, they can now start undermining via CETA. EU member state parliaments should vote no to CETA.”

Through CETA, the EU will become further integrated with the Canadian (North American) meat industry. The lack of mandatory US labelling laws on cloning, combined with the frequent trading of live cattle, pigs, genetic material and other animal products between the US and Canada, make the presence of cloned material and clone offspring in the Canadian meat supply highly likely. This undermines the de facto ban on animal cloning in the EU.

Since last year, GMO salmon is allowed in Canada. About 4.5 tonnes of GM salmon fillets have already been sold in Canada – without labelling. This means that Canadians are not able to distinguish between GM salmon and normal salmon. CETA will enable the salmon exports from Canada to the EU to grow, by lowering tariffs and expanding quota. How will the EU guarantee that no GMO Salmon enters its market?

Shefali Sharma, IATP Europe director: “While the trade deal TTIP with the US mobilised opposition from across the EU, CETA is really a deal with US and other transnational agribusiness through the backdoor. This deal spells the end to a transformative vision for European agriculture. Instead, it locks in a trajectory towards unhealthy food imports and deteriorating standards.”


Briefing papers by Greenpeace and IATP, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy:


[1] Some provisions of the chapters 8 (Investment) and 13 (Financial Services), covering EU-Canada investment, including the controversial Investment Court System, will only be applied after the entire deal is approved by all national and regional parliaments. Besides some further minimal exceptions (Article 20.12 on Camcording, Article 27.3 and Article 27.4, and paragraph 7 of Article 28.7); the rest of CETA will enter into force on Sept 21st.


Kees Kodde – Greenpeace trade policy campaigner: +31 (0)6 53623818,

Shefali Sharma – IATP Europe director: +49 (0)177 146 96 13,

Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organisation that acts to change attitudes and behaviour, to protect and conserve the environment and to promote peace. Greenpeace does not accept donations from governments, the EU, businesses or political parties.