CETA agreement EU – Canada

CETAIt’s been few weeks that the international newspapers have mentioned and discussed the agreement between Canada and the EU: “Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement” (CETA). Let’s see the details in this article.

CETA is important because it could be also the predecessor of a more important and complex agreement (in terms of value and regulation), which is under study and negotiation between the US and EU, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

CETA was concluded in August 2014 and in July 2016, the European Commission has formally proposed the signing and conclusion of the agreement to the European Council. The process requires that after the approval of the European Council, this will come into force temporarily. To get the final approval, and be valid permanently, the proposal must have the consent of the European Parliament and ratified by all EU member states.

Specifically, let’s see the content of this agreement (source: European Commission http://ec.europa.eu/trade/policy/in-focus/ceta/index_en.htm):

  1. Sustain the economic growth and, therefore, employment. It is believed this possible because four years after the agreement with the Republic of Korea, European exports to South Korea grew by 55% for goods and 40% for services. It is estimated that every billion euro of exports creates 14,000 jobs and increases the salary of that specific sector of export.
  2. There will be no duties on exports and this means a saving of € 600 million a year for EU companies. The products that will benefit the most will be those agricultural and industrial.
  3. Participation in public tenders at all levels for European companies. To date, this market is 30 billion euro. This opportunity is only given to European companies, in fact there are no other international companies that can join.
  4. It will create a forum for cooperation and regulatory control between the two parties. The objective is to suggest regulatory measures to improve cooperation. Most important, specific goods such as: electrical equipment, toys, industrial machines and measurement equipment must comply with both parties’ regulations. This means that a European body will test the goods mentioned above to assess the conformity of the supplied market. Special attention is given to the food market and the environment. The Canadian products may be imported and sold in Europe only if they comply with European rules, so they can not contain growth hormones or GMOs. The high quality standard European products, however, will find more opportunities and be more competitive in Canada, which is a country with high wages and which seeking the European quality.
  5. Protection and preservation of European innovations, artistic and traditional products. Canada will align copyright protection to the world organization rules of intellectual property.
  6. Canada reduces or cancels barriers also for European services, in particular financial services, telecommunications, energy and maritime transport.
  7. The agreement promotes and protects investments. Investors of the two blocks will be protected and will have the same legal and economic treatment and shall enjoy the same rights in whatever country they are. Therefore, this agreement is to eliminate any origin discrimination.

CETA supports democracy, public health, safety and the environment. CETA will not affect in any way the right of countries to govern themselves for the public interest.

After NAFTA, for Canada this agreement is the most important they will have. They became favorable to this agreement with Europe, following a careful assessment of the benefits that may result. The deal is done to create economic growth and protection of public interests, environmental and public health.

Private interests in public areas are excluded. For example, if a country wants keep the monopoly of water supply, oil, telecommunications etc, it is free to do so.

Based on official documents available, this agreement is signed in the best intentions to free trade and, therefore, in the interests of the companies. I remember that also the European Economic Community (EEC) was created for the same goals in 1957, and in 1993 the states decided for a stronger integration with creation of a Union of States. This integration created a new supranational administration and a single currency.

Based on the history above, probably it will not surprise if this is the beginning of a Euro – Canadian Union.

Top 3 revolutionary transportation projects – available soon

transportationTransportation is undergoing one of the biggest transformations in history.

There are many projects under evaluation and many others under implementation. For example, we heard about flying cars, drones for public transportation, electric planes, self-driving bus etc.

Companies are investing in new ways for humans to get from one point to another in the most efficient way.

This article focuses on the top three developments we will see the realization soon.

  1. Hoverbike. This is a vehicle that can hover and resembles a motorbike. Among the company interested in the development, Aerofex has set the release date in 2017. The product will be named Aero-X. The vehicles rises 3.6 mt (10 feet) from the ground and it can reach a speed of 72 KM/h (45 miles/h). it is designed to transport 2 people and run for 1,24 hours. The engine is based on gasoline and the price starts from $85.000. The vehicle does not need a specific tarred surface and are safer for drivers because not based on wheels.
  2. Self driving cars. They are becoming a reality and some major automakers believe in a release date in semiautonomous vehicle by 2020 and a full autonomous vehicle in 10 years. The main benefit for users would be: increase of safety, more free time, reduction of carbon emissions and use of those also for elderly people or who does not have the ability to drive.
  3. Super Maglev Train. Chinese and Japanese researchers are working on a new and fastest version of Maglev (super Maglev). The current train is fastest train in the world and can reach 900 km/h (260 miles/h). To have a comparison, the fastest train in Europe is AGV Italo, which can reach 575 Km/h (357 m/h). The super Maglev could reach 6480 km/h (1800 m/h). To reduce the air resistance the researchers want encapsulate the train in a vacuum tube pressurised. As matter of fact, the challenge is the realisation of such huge infrastructure around the train.

If realised, such vehicles would change the demography in any country and also our behaviour.

Local languages and Globalization

LanguageImageI heard an interesting talk on the radio this morning. The speakers discussed the future of regional dialects if the globalization stays in place.

Globalization is a system based on the interconnections of different aspects: economic, political, cultural, linguistic and environmental. This system is capable to make irrelevant the existing boarders and boundaries. Globalization aims to standardize and harmonize processes and communications. This means also that few languages are used as standard for communication and this marginalizes the role of local and regional languages in the society and economic context. In other words, as the world economy becomes more integrated, a common tongue has become more important than ever to promote commerce, and this reduces the use of regional dialects and minority languages creating a distinct disadvantage for those ones. Furthermore, telecommunications have pressured the languages to become more standardized and affecting local variations of language.

Local languages are the synthesis of the evolution of both community and history. I strongly believe those are an asset for the people because remind them where they came from and make the community stronger because it is a shared value between individuals. Dialects are beautiful to hear because characterized by a mix of ancient and modern words and the sound is also influenced by different cultures. Examples are in any country around the world (E.g. Italy, Spain, China, Arabic countries, Balkans).

Globalization is also supported by internet and, of course, social media, which users have reviewed words to fit sms, tweets, emails and this has been transforming the good writing in a loss of art.

Because people wants learn English for the reasons explained above, the English native speakers are not fully motivated to learn a second language.

The communication is crucial for the human being and If a common language allows an easy communication with people around the world, this is welcome for me but, on the other hand, the scholastic programs must protect local languages making them part of the education in order to avoid the language’s standardization and the loss of an important part of national history and patrimony. Maintaining and protecting local languages help people and, specifically, children to value and appreciate the own culture and heritage. For people working abroad and for who lost they native language, they risk to lose also the link with family and native community.

For all the reasons reported above, it is extremely important do not be short-sighted on this topic and work all together to protect local languages and dialects and increase their usage.