Status: Ratified 23 May 2019

CETA was ratified by a coalition government led by the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP), which included the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) as junior coalition partner. Both legislative chambers (i.e., State Council/Nationalrat and Federal Council/Bundesrat) had to give approval for CETA to be ratified. The FPÖ had originally opposed CETA in 2017, however, in the coalition agreement with the ÖVP, the FPÖ agreed to support ratification. The Nationalrat and Bundesrat both voted to ratify CETA in June 2018, with formal notification of ratification in May 2019.

Public debate

President of the National Council Doris Bures Source: NationalFonds

The Greens and the New Austria Party (NEOS) opposed CETA primarily because of the investor-state dispute settlement provisions. Public contestation in Austria was intensive, with opponents also arguing that CETA has a lack of transparency as well as negative effects on environmental protection, labour rights and sustainable development. Opposition groups argued that CETA’s ratification would result in regulatory chill and constrain the government’s ability to regulate in the public interest. CSOs opposed to CETA included trade unions, environmental groups and consumer advocacy organizations, including for instance FIAN Österreich, GLOBAL 2000 – Friends of the Earth, and the Austrian Trade Union Federation.

Trade data

Austria had a trade surplus in goods trade with Canada of €1.14 billion in 2021 (Eurostat). Moreover, imports from Canada were €310 million, which is 0.7% of Austria’s imports from outside the EU. Exports to Canada were €1.45 billion, 2.7% of Austria’s in extra-EU exports (Eurostat). Canada-Austria bilateral goods trade (imports + exports) grew by €379 million, or 28.2%, between 2016-2019 (Statistics Canada).

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Corporate Europe Observatory. (November 2016). “European and Canadian civil society groups call for rejection of CETA (November 2016)”. Link
Eschbach, A. The Ratification Process in EU Member States – A presentation with particular consideration of the TTIP and CETA free trade agreements. Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law. Link
European Public Service Union (June 2016). “Unions and Civil Society are mobilizing: No to CETA – a bad deal for workers and people”. Link
The Austrian Republic. Austrian Embassy in Washington, DC. Link.

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