CETA Could Wipe Out Thousands of Jobs in Nova Scotia, says CCPA Study

October 24, 2012, 3:00 PM EST

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A highly controversial free trade deal between Canada and the European Union could wipe out thousands of jobs in the province of Nova Scotia, according to a new study published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives on October 23.

The study entitled The CETA and Nova Scotia: Who pays for free trade?, co-authored by Angela Giles, Leanne MacMillan and Christine Saulnier, finds that over 2500 net jobs could disappear in Nova Scotia as a result of the proposed Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. CETA negotiations began in 2009. Federal government officials expect talks to wrap up at the end of 2012.

"Close consideration of the probable costs and benefits of the CETA for Nova Scotia reveals that the agreement's benefits are being oversold, while its costs and consequences are minimized or even ignored," the study states.

The study examines the unbalanced trade in goods and services between Nova Scotia and the European Union.  European firms import twice as many goods and services to the Nova Scotia economy as Nova Scotia exports back (the ratio of European imports to exports balloons to 7:1 once car and truck data are added to the trade calculation), creating an unfavourable trading relationship for the province that will likely be made worse once European firms have more open access to the provincial market.

The study also notes the CETA is expected to drive up the province's prescription drug costs by $70 million each year, undermine Nova Scotia's renewable energy program, and impose never-before-seen restrictions on government purchasing powers, among other impacts.

"Given that our unbalanced trade relationship favours the EU, merely opening up the possibility for greater competition in Europe will not automatically create economic benefits for Nova Scotians," the study states.

CAW Atlantic Region Director Les Holloway welcomes the new study and encourages provincial politicians to take heed of its findings.

"This free trade deal with Europe will bind the hands of provincial and municipal governments more than any trade deal in the past and we need to know that the province will take into account the best interests of Nova Scotians," Holloway said. "We can't afford to watch another 2500 jobs disappear in this province. Our provincial government doesn't have to support this deal, at least not until a full accounting has been done."

"Nova Scotians deserve information and data weighing the full economic and social costs and benefits. An informed, democratic decision about entering into the CETA requires an ongoing public dialogue and democratic process wherein the public can have meaningful input," the study concludes.

To read the full study, visit: www.policyalternatives.ca

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