HELF-VMR Conference "Trade and sustainability: CETA dissected"

26 - 26 January 2017
  • Starts at: 14:00h
  • Fee: Free
  • Venue: T.M.C. Asser Instituut
  • Organiser: Dutch Association for Environmental Law (VMR) and the Hague Environmental Law Facility (HELF)
  • Address: R.J. Schimmelpennincklaan 20-22
    2517 JN The Hague


This event will pay special attention to the freshly negotiated Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada. The treaty, which was signed by Canada and the EU on 30 October 2016, seeks to liberalise trade in goods and services and contains several provisions aimed at protecting and stimulating investments.

In the lead-up to its signature, the treaty faced widespread criticism in relation to the potential weakening of consumer rights and environmental standards. Furthermore, concerns arose regarding the controversial investor-state dispute settlement mechanism in CETA, which critics argue may cause a “regulatory chill” effect. Nonetheless, the EU claims that CETA is a modern and progressive treaty that sets the standard for future EU trade agreements.

At this conference, we will take a closer look at the possible implications of CETA and other trade agreements that are currently being negotiated (such as TTIP) for trade and sustainability in the EU and in its trade partners. In this regard it is interesting to note Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Lilianne Ploumen’s call for a “reset” of free trade at the OECD earlier in 2016. What could such a reset imply and does CETA truly form the “golden standard” (as President of the Commission Jean-Claude Juncker put it) for future trade agreements negotiated by the EU?

Against the backdrop of a possible reset of EU trade policy, the distinguished speakers will discuss the contents of CETA and the notion of Regulatory Cooperation, as well as the Investment Court System and its potential Regulatory Chill effect.


13:30     Welcome and registration 
14.00     Opening, Wybe Douma (T.M.C. Asser Instituut)
14.05     Introduction about CETA, Joris Larik (Leiden University and The Hague Institute of Global Justice)
14.25     Regulatory Cooperation, Ronald Roosdorp (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
14.45     Q & A
15.05     Break
15.25     Investment Court System, Laurens Ankersmit (Client Earth)
15.45     Regulatory Chill, Wybe Douma (T.M.C. Asser Instituut)
16.05     Panel Discussion with Alan Bowman (Mission of Canada to EU) and Nikos Lavranos (NL Investmentconsulting)
                  Chair: Joris Larik (Leiden University and The Hague Institute of Global Justice).
16.30     Reception 

Registration is mandatory, as a limited number of seats are available. 

Registration for Dutch speaking participants: http://milieurecht.nl/activities_subscribe.php?s=87 
Registration for English speaking participants: info@milieurecht.nl