The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is a trade agreement that is being negotiated between the EU and the USA. It is claimed that it will remove trade barriers, but in truth there are very few trade barriers between Europe and the USA. In reality it is designed to increase the power of business over governments and to prevent them from taking stances in the interests of their people if they will interfere with the big corporations (who will be able to sue them thanks to the TTIP).
TTIP has obvious benefits for big business and obvious dis-benefits for everyone else. TTIP has the potential to undermine national laws related to areas of key importance such as food safety and environmental health. It also serves to empower the corporations in various potential disputes with governments.
TTIP is supposedly about ‘protecting’ investment’, reducing ‘unnecessary’ trade barriers and ‘harmonising’ regulations between the US and the EU to free up trade, but in reality is about the dis-empowerment of the representatives of the normal people (democratically elected leaders) and the empowerment of the representatives of the Capitalists (the big corporations). Many people from across Europe have taken to the streets to demonstrate against the TTIP (whatever good that does). They have pointed out that iniquitous practices common amongst powerful businesses may be further enforced through TTIP structures, the threat of enforced of privatization of state owned services and industries (against the people’s interests) and they have warned against the secrecy and lack of transparency of TTIP.
The people of countries that may be effected by TTIP have generally been kept in the dark about this harmful development. They have not been allowed to know who set the TTIP agenda. Neither have they been informed of what exactly has been negotiated “on their behalf”. Indeed much of the available information on this subject is only available thanks to leaks and freedom of information requests. Many requests for information on this subject from the EU have been heavily censored.
A threatened TTIP EU-US Regulatory Cooperation Council would have the power to interfere with current and future EU regulations and further remove the locus of power in the EU away from the people and into the hands of technocrats. If the elected politicians of the EU states wanted one thing but it conflicted with the rules and demands of businesses that had become enshrined thanks to TTIP, then it would be tough tits for the people (unless they wanted to get sued by a pro-business kangaroo court).
If TTIP has its wicked way with the EU then the new reality will mean that any government that wants to introduce stronger food safety laws or anti GM requirements or other benevolent state interventions may be sued by the greedy corporations (who will declare that this has affected their TTIP rights to free trade). TTIP has the potential to flood Europe with GM tainted produce and make it harder for countries to resist the environmental vandalism known as fracking (may the frackers frack off). It may degrade and destroy labour rights and cause a whole host of other nasty scenarios.
The USA is not going to adopt Europe’s higher standards in food safety, pollution, data privacy and various other subjects so we can all see where this rubbish deal is leading. In fact the US Senate Finance Committee has already taken steps to reduce EU restrictions on such puke risers as hormone laden beef, chlorinated poultry and GM tainted foodstuffs.
This is the same sort of trade agreement that big business has used to bully many third world countries who innocently sought to look after the interests of their people in ways that coincidentally limited the actions of the big corporations. This type of agreement has also been used to ensure that governments must destroy nationalized industries and to generally make the governments slaves of big business not of the populous.
TTIP would enable American companies in Europe to challenge EU governments at secretive international tribunals if the laws of the countries (laws protecting public health, well being and safety) are claimed to interfere with the companies profits. Such courts which already exist thanks to other similar agreements have awarded billions of (tax payers’) dollars to big Capitalist enterprises from governments who were simply looking after their people in reasonable ways.
Sadly the fat cats have shown themselves willing and able to attack elected governments who enact any form of legislation that does not work to the advantage of big business, goodbye public sector service provision if TTIP infects Europe like an evil New World pox..
Real people want to be protected from powerful corporations not to have their government turn their country into a free brothel (and their workers and consumers into unwilling and unawares prostitutes and wage slaves) for these amoral alien invaders.
Real people want to live in a safe, ordered environment over which they have some influence and which is run according to principles of compassion, wisdom, fairness and justice. They want and deserve a political system that protects them from the demands of mindless, greedy corporations whose only motivation is profit. TTIP is taking Europe in exactly the wrong direction.
“It is clear this government thought they could do this deal in secret, a deal that would mean the irreversible sell off of our NHS to America”.
(Gail Cartmail of Unite Union)
“Labour believes that key to an EU US trade deal that we would encourage the rest of Europe to support, which avoids a race to the bottom and promotes decent jobs and growth would be safeguards and progress on labour, environmental and health and safety standards. Labour has raised concerns over the inclusion of an ISDS mechanism in TTIP. Labour believes that the right of governments to legislate for legitimate public policy objectives should be protected effectively in any dispute resolution mechanisms.”
(Labour Party, which favours TTIP with safeguards)
“The only way to stop the US-EU trade deal (euphemistically called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, TTIP) from interfering with the freedom of an incoming Labour government to reverse NHS privatisation is by demanding that the UK government vetoes TTIP unless health services are clearly and fully exempted.”
Michael Meacher MP
“It was argued that it (TTIP) will stimulate trade by removing tariffs and thus promote jobs and economic growth. That is nonsense since these tariffs are already at minimal levels. Even US and EU officials admit that the real goal is to remove regulatory ‘barriers’ which restrict the potential profits to be made by transnational corporations….
…these ‘barriers’ are in reality some of our most valuable social standards and environmental regulations such as labour rights, food safety rules (including restrictions on GMOs), regulations on the use of toxic chemicals, digital privacy laws and even banking safeguards introduced to prevent a repeat of the 2008 financial crash…
…in addition to the deregulation agenda, TTIP also seeks to open up new markets in public services and government procurement contracts to competition from the big private multinationals. That will usher in a further wave of privatisations in the most sensitive key sectors of health and education among others….
…the really biggest issue of all is that TTIP would grant foreign investors a new right to sue sovereign governments in front of ad hoc arbitration tribunals for loss of profits from public policy decisions over health, safety, workplace standards, chemicals use, etc. This investor-State dispute settlement mechanism effectively elevates transnational capital to a status equivalent to the nation-State itself. That would undermine the fundamental principles of democracy in both the EU and USA.”
Michael Meacher MP