Dear Minister Humphreys: Say no to toxic trade deal CETA! Signed, 500 Irish businesses

Dear Heather Humphries, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, & TD for Cavan-Monaghan,

Right now, you’re deciding whether or not to hand over power to huge multinational corporations to sue us and introduce underpriced produce that threatens local businesses, through the toxic Canadian trade deal CETA.

We, the undersigned, call on you to protect local and native industries, rather than hand over control to massive corporations. Local businesses in Monaghan will face threats from cheaper, unfairly priced and under regulated competing produce flooding our market.

After years of secretive backroom negotiations, it’s come to this: if Ireland makes the CETA trade deal with Canada into law, foreign corporations will be able to sue us for any of our laws that cut into their profits. That means the laws that we chose, that protect Ireland and ensure the high standards of our goods, would come second to the money making of multinationals. It would also mean that multinationals could unfairly undercut local and native industries – potentially destroying them for good.

So we, 500 Irish business owners from many different walks of life, have come together to call on you to halt CETA in its tracks.

CETA will enable some of the world’s biggest corporations to undermine our social, health and environmental standards. Canada has far weaker regulations than ours – so CETA means their firms will be both able to undercut us in price, and we’ll have products in Ireland that we, as a sovereign nation, have deemed risky, unfair, or unethical.

Say that we then decide to regulate against them. We could face legal action from huge multinational corporations – this is not acceptable. This means our national sovereignty and democracy is undermined by CETA. Under its investor protection rules, CETA will give Canadian firms unprecedented powers to sue the Irish government when any new laws affect their profits.

CETA will result in the loss of jobs in Ireland and will severely affect the Irish food and agriculture sector.

A study commissioned by the EU predicts that we’ll see a ‘steep drop in beef meat prices by between 8-16%’ due to CETA, and similar deals. But the EU signed off on 50,000t of Canadian beef entering our market anyway – hundreds of thousands head of cattle. Our small farms will not be able to compete.

And the overwhelming majority of Irish businesses do not export to Canada. CETA has been designed by and for the largest corporations that trade and invest across the Atlantic, not the majority of us.

The EU Parliament Employment Committee concluded that CETA will endanger 90 million jobs in small businesses – putting our employees and our businesses at risk. Inequality between the wealthiest and poorest will also worsen across the EU and Canada, according to a recent study – the last thing we need.

We’re calling on the Irish government not to make this unfair deal into law. So Minister Humphreys, who do you answer to? Do you answer to multinational corporations in their boardrooms overseas, or to us – Irish businesses calling on you to act in our interest?

It should be people in Ireland that call the shots about our laws – not big business. Please, if you agree, don’t ratify CETA.

Kind regards,

Fergal Cassidy, CEO, MeasureSoft

Olga Kennelly, Director, Autus Global Ltd

Bill Haneman, Proprieter, Haneman Union Pipes

Edward Owen, Director, Silentus

Gerard D’Arcy, Owner, Darcy Bespoke Cleaning

Roderick Campbell, CEO, CommitChange

Damien McKenna, Owner, McKenna Agencies

Paul Brennan, Owner, Paul Brennan Media Design

Clarence Healy, President, The Organic Institute

Dearbhla Breen, Director, Function Physiotherapy

Paul Lee, CEO, Viewsion Virtual Environments

John Mackey, Managing Director, Farm to Table Ltd

And 490 others

This ad was paid for by 198 Uplift members – people from communities across Ireland who are standing up for our local businesses, and our health, safety, and environmental protections. For more information, see http://uplift.ie/business-owners-ceta/.