The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is a series of trade negotiations being carried out mostly in secret between the EU and US. As a bi-lateral trade agreement, TTIP is about reducing the regulatory barriers to trade for big business, things like food safety law, environmental legislation, banking regulations and the sovereign powers of individual nations.
6 Reasons why this trade agreement will not be a best for all solution: http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/com ... 79688.html
1. Public services are in the firing line. One of the main aims of TTIP is to open up Europe’s public health, education and water services to US companies. This could essentially mean the privatisation of Europe's national health services.
The European Commission has claimed that public services will be kept out of TTIP. However, according to the Huffington Post, the UK Trade Minister Lord Livingston has admitted that talks about the NHS were still on the table.
2. TTIP’s ‘regulatory convergence’ agenda will seek to bring EU standards on food safety and the environment closer to those of the US. The US food regulations are much less strict, for instance 70% of all processed foods sold in US supermarkets are containing genetically modified ingredients. By contrast, the EU allows virtually no GM foods, less pesticides and no growth hormones in its beef.
3. TTIP might give more power to the bankers, there are rumors that the City of London is seeking a loosening of US banking regulations in order to handing power back to the bankers.
4. The US ACTA (the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) was not accepted by Europe in 2012, due to it being seen as an attack on individual privacy where internet service providers would be required to monitor people’s online activity. European citizens fear that the central elements of ACTA will be used in TTIP as well as an easing of data privacy laws and a restriction of public access to pharmaceutical companies’ clinical trials.
5. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the US, Canada and Mexico caused the loss of one million US jobs over 12 years, instead of the hundreds of thousands of extra that were promised. So Europe may face the same loss of jobs when signing TTIP as jobs switch to the US, where labour standards and trade union rights are lower.
6. One of the main aims of TTIP is the introduction of Investor-State Dispute Settlements (ISDS), which allow companies to sue governments if those governments’ policies cause a loss of profits. In effect it means unelected transnational corporations can dictate the policies of democratically elected governments.
The reality/consequences of ISDS's that are already in place in other bi-lateral trade agreements around the world:
ISDS has led to injustices in Germany where the Swedish energy company Vattenfall is suing the German government for billions of dollars over its decision to phase out nuclear power plants in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in Japan. Here we see a public health policy put into place by a democratically elected government being threatened by an energy giant because of a potential loss of profit.
The Australian government, decided that cigarettes should be sold in plain packets, marked only with shocking health warnings. The decision was validated by the Australian supreme court. But, using a trade agreement Australia struck with Hong Kong, the tobacco company Philip Morris has asked an offshore tribunal to award it a vast sum in compensation for the loss of what it calls its intellectual property.
During its financial crisis, and in response to public anger over rocketing charges, Argentina imposed a freeze on people's energy and water bills. It was sued by the international utility companies whose vast bills had prompted the government to act. For this and other such crimes, it has been forced to pay out over a billion dollars in compensation.
In El Salvador, local communities managed at great cost (three campaigners were murdered) to persuade the government to refuse permission for a vast gold mine which threatened to contaminate their water supplies. A victory for democracy? Not for long, perhaps. The Canadian company which sought to dig the mine is now suing El Salvador for $315m – for the loss of its anticipated future profits.
In Canada, the courts revoked two patents owned by the American drugs firm Eli Lilly, on the grounds that the company had not produced enough evidence that they had the beneficial effects it claimed. Eli Lilly is now suing the Canadian government for $500m, and demanding that Canada's patent laws are changed.
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfre ... ent-treaty
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfre ... -democracy
http://www.euractiv.com/sections/trade- ... lks-318609
http://rosalux.gr/sites/default/files/p ... ip_web.pdf
Booklet pdf War on Want written by John Hilary
For Dutch speaking people a "Tegenlicht" documentary: http://www.npo.nl/vpro-tegenlicht/04-10 ... ON_1232892