EU-Canada agreement should have been integrated in CETA – Sant

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EU-Canada agreement should have been integrated in CETA - SantMaltese MEP Alfred Sant told the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs of the European Parliament (ECON) that the agreement between the EU and Canada on the application of their competition laws should not have taken 8 years to be finalised and argued that the same agreement should have been integrated in CETA.

He said that, "the Agreement is plain sailing. It details cooperation between the competition authorities of the Union and of Canada regarding information available to their respective services about anti-competitive activities of interest to both or to one of the parties." The Council authorised the Commission to open negotiations on the matter at hand on 9 October 2008.

Dr Sant was speaking as the Shadow Rapporteur on the file which aims at amending the original 1999 agreement with Canada to include a mechanism of exchange of information between the competition authorities of the EU and those of Canada.

"Why has it taken so long to arrive to the present stage, when there was no contrary pressures to the conclusion of negotiations? Were there hidden difficulties and reservations involved?" Asked Dr Sant.

The agreement has a chapter dealing with a commitment to the joint pursuit of policies and procedures that combat anti-competitive practices. "So the signature of the agreement before us, and its ratification, would be fully coherent with CETA. Perhaps had the present agreement itself, technical as it is, been finalised speedily, it could have been integrated in CETA itself, rather than applied separately," remarked the Maltese MEP.

The agreement also includes safeguards for leniency statements and settlement documents and adjustments of the existing agreement concerning the protection of personal data and the right of defence. A similar agreement on the exchange of information between competition authorities is already in place with Switzerland.

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