Democracy, public services, health and environmental protection – take your pick. They’re all under attack from TTIP, a new EU-US trade deal which puts corporate interest and profit before people and planet on almost every measure imaginable.
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is a trade deal between America and the European Union being negotiated entirely behind closed doors. What we know about it comes from leaks and Freedom of Information requests but it’s enough to give us plenty to worry about.
The deal on the table is designed to give greater power to corporations to trade across the Atlantic without regulatory restrictions. TTIP is a full frontal assault on democracy and it desperately deserves our attention. Here’s three reasons why we should fight it.
One of the proposals in TTIP is to introduce “investor-state dispute settlements” or ISDS. These already exist in about 500 trade deals around the world and allow corporations to sue governments if they believe the government has damaged their profits or investments. These provisions don’t even go through normal courts or national justiciary processes – such disputes are handled by a group of corporate lawyers, described by War on Want as “a kangaroo court”. Even the Economist, called it “a way to let multinational companies get rich at the expense of ordinary people”. And of course all of this is being decided between the EU and US behind closed doors with no requirement for accountability to the citizens of either union.
2) Protections for people and planet
TTIP’s core purpose is deregulation for trade and profit. As the EU’s regulations on food, farming and the environment are much tighter than those in the US, the negotiators for the US are seeking a reduction in regulation. In practice that could mean reducing restrictions on GM food (around 70% of processed foods in US supermarkets is GM where the EU allows almost none) and we could see pressure from US companies to reduce restrictions on the use of pesticides, growth hormones for animals and other protections.
3) Public services
TTIP promises to create opportunities for private corporations to provide public services in the EU including health and education. Despite assurances from the European Commission that public services are off the table in negotiations, the UK trade minister Lord Livingston has said that the NHS is still open for discussion. As discussions are all behind closed doors, we don’t know what elements the government is willing to open up to private companies but we can be sure that if it’s allowed to go through, anything a future government does which could jeopardise profits for those companies could result in the government being sued.
TTIP will likely export jobs to the US in return for fracked gas and crude oil exports. It will erode data protections and privacy and if the UK government gets its way, it will weaken international banking regulations. But slowly TTIP is being exposed for what it is – an affront to democracy in the interests of corporate greed. The more people know about it, protest it and openly challenge it, the weaker it becomes.
We must fight TTIP and fight it now.
Sign the petition at stop-ttip.org or 38 degrees