Status: Ratified 12 July 2022

The Netherlands have a bicameral system, requiring both legislative chambers to ratify CETA. The lower house (Twede Kamer) voted to ratify CETA in February 2020, but the agreement was stalled in the upper house (Eerste Kamer) until July 2022. On July 12, 2022, the upper house voted to ratify CETA with a slim majority (40 for, 35 against). The agreement was confirmed after the Dutch Labour Party, PvdA, withdrew its opposition. Ruud Koole, Dutch Labour Senator, stated that the party’s decision to drop the opposition was because of Canada’s importance to Europe as an economic and political partner, especially in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Moreover, the Dutch Senate has also voted for the Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) between Canada and the EU. The agreement includes Canada and the EU’s partnership in handling cases on human rights, the fight against terrorism, and judicial cooperation.

Public debate

Contestation on CETA’s ratification in the Netherlands has been intensive. Opposition political parties including the Dutch Labour Party (PvdA) and the Greens hold the balance of power in the upper house. Opponents argue CETA violates the Dutch Constitution, the investor-state dispute settlement provisions only benefit multinational corporations, and the agreement will have an adverse effect on the agricultural sector (beef industry). There are concerns over food safety and consumer protection, with opponents arguing the investor-state dispute settlement provisions will prevent increasing standards in environmental, health and labour policies. Opponents argue that labour unions and CSOs should have the same access to the dispute settlement provisions as multinational corporations do. Opposing CSOs include Meer Democratie, Transnational Institute and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. Proponents of CETA argue that the agreement is an advanced agreement, that the Netherlands is a free-trading nation, and that Dutch-Canadian relations are important to Western unity.

Trade data

In 2021, the Netherlands had a trade deficit in goods trade with Canada of €114 million (Eurostat). Imports from Canada were €3.85 billion, 1% of the Netherlands’ imports from outside the EU. Exports were €4.84 billion, 2% of the Netherlands’ extra-EU exports (Eurostat). Canada-Netherlands bilateral goods trade (imports + exports) grew by €1.66 billion, or 37.7%, between 2016 and 2019 (Statistics Canada).


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European Public Service Union. (June 2016). “Unions and Civil Society are Mobilizing: No to CETA – a bad deal for workers and people.” Link

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