CETA is Canada`s largest bilateral initiative since NAFTA. It was launched as a result of a joint study “Assessing the Costs and Benefits of a Closer EU-Canada Economic Partnership” published in October 2008. Officials announced the opening of negotiations on May 6, 2009 at the Canada-EU Summit in Prague   At the conclusion of the Canada-EU Summit in Ottawa on March 18, 2004, at which the Heads of State and Government agreed on a framework for a new Canada-EU Trade and Investment Promotion Agreement (TIEA). TIEA should go beyond traditional market access issues and include areas such as trade and investment facilitation, competition, mutual recognition of professional qualifications, financial services, e-commerce, temporary access, small and medium-sized enterprises, sustainable development and the exchange of knowledge and technology. TIEA should also build on a regulatory cooperation framework between Canada and the EU to promote bilateral cooperation on the regulatory approach, promote best regulatory practices and facilitate trade and investment. In addition to removing barriers, TIEA is expected to increase Canadian and European interest in each other`s markets.  TIEA lasted until 2006, when Canada and the EU decided to halt negotiations. This has led to negotiations for a canada-EU trade agreement (later renamed the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and this agreement, beyond TIEA, is in line with an agreement with a much broader and more ambitious scope. On 26 March 2014, Federal Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel wrote an open letter to EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht, in which he said that investment protection was a central sensitive issue that could ultimately decide whether a transatlantic free trade agreement would be approved by Germany. He also noted that there was no need for investment arbitration procedures between countries with well-developed legal systems. A brief summary: EU member states have transferred exclusive competence to the EU to negotiate and conclude trade agreements. Since the Lisbon Treaty came into force in 2009, this exclusive jurisdiction has also covered foreign direct investment. CETA is one of the first examples of the EU`s exercise of this new jurisdiction: it is primarily a trade and investment agreement, but it is also one of the first major free trade agreements to include chapters on sustainable development, labour and the environment.
CETA, signed by Canada, the EU and all EU member states in 2016, came into force provisionally in September 2017, with the exception of the investment chapter. The protection of foreign investors in this chapter and the dispute resolution mechanism to ensure the implementation of this protection (the so-called “Investment Court System” or ICS) have been the subject of persistent controversy.