Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) or Total Takeover of International Prerogative (TTIP)

18 March 2015

You may have heard recently about the proposed TTIP agreement that is under negotiation between the US and the EU.  20 years ago it appeared on our borders as the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) and it was defeated.  The reason being that it is yet another attempt to legitimise absolute corporate control over global trade.

The Green MP Caroline Lucas tabled a motion as long ago as 2013 to halt the TTIP negotiations [1] but unfortunately this was defeated and ignored by the other parties. Late last year our Green MEPs in the European Parliament made another attempt to force the negotiators to listen to the public outcry but were again rebuffed [2].

Firstly, it includes an element which aims to remove ‘non-tarriff barriers’ (NTBs). NTBs are just another name for the regulations that our parliament agrees on to govern our own society. These are regulations like the ones that ensure we have clean air and water, or safe cars and transport, or assure that we receive certain levels of quality in services like healthcare and education. When NTBs are included in trade agreements, they invariably mean that the regulations of all countries are lowered or removed completely, putting corporate profit before the wellbeing or health of the people who live in the countries concerned.

Secondly, is that this process removes the power to democratically agree laws and regulations from our national parliament. We would in effect be surrendering our right to determine many of our own laws regarding business, and these would be incredibly difficult, if not impossible to reverse.

Thirdly is the issue of the NHS and Britain’s public services.  Almost all our services, from the NHS to rail to education would be forever at the mercy of foreign corporations, and any attempt to reverse this sell-off or reintroduce our own democratic control over public services would be next to impossible. It is completely undemocratic, and takes even more power away from the people, just at the time when we need to be having serious discussions about how we can restore our democracy and re-engage people in meaningful politics.

Finally, is the issue of trust.  At every stage, from the ultra-secret start of these discussions and independent report[3], none of the authors of which have any obvious connection or interest in human/animal/environmental concerns, to the misleading EU campaigns [4] and the regular but completely untrue assurances that the NHS has been removed from the agreement, the negotiators have shown dishonesty and have treated the European public with disdain. It is therefore impossible for us to ever trust that the agreement will benefit the people of Britain and Europe, regardless of the assurances we are offered. All trade agreements should be completely transparent and democratic. TTIP is neither, and should be scrapped immediately.

 

 

[1] http://greenparty.org.uk/news/2014/07/11/green-party-ttip-trade-deal-is-a-corporate-power-grab,-that-must-be-stopped/

 

[2] http://greenparty.org.uk/news/2014/12/09/green-meps-at-forefront-of-campaign-against-ttip-eu-us-trade-deal/

 

[3]Independent Report Compiled by Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

 

The CEPR claims that its “core income” comes from its “membership base”, of  

firms such as investment banks, consultancies, asset managers and government agencies. The financial sector currently makes up two thirds of the membership base. However there is a trend toward broadening the membership base among the other sectors. We now have, for example, the support of all European Union Central Banks as well as the ECB [European Central bank] and the BIS [Bank of International Settlements].” 

 

 

[4] The EC claims the TTIP

[A]ims at removing trade barriers in a wide range of economic sectors to make it easier to buy and sell goods and services between the EU and the US.  

suggests that an ambitious agreement could result in millions of euros of savings to companies and create hundreds of thousands of jobs”