TTIP (pronounced tea-tip) is no tea party. It stands for TRANSATLANTIC TRADE AND INVESTMENT PARTNERSHIP, a free trade and investment treaty being negotiated between officials of the European Union and the USA. The chief EU negotiator has confirmed that “the European Commission will block public access to all documents related to the negotiation or development of TTIP, and that those documents will remain closed to the public for up to 30 years”. In this case, the public includes elected politicians on both sides of the Atlantic. However – draft negotiating positions will be shared with corporate advisers to the US government, who will then be free to share them with their European business counterparts. Hence, transnational corporations take priority over democratically elected national governments. In addition, negotiators have agreed to set up a body giving business a greater role in setting regulatory standards.
TTIP is un-transparent and anti-democratic
With tariffs already at minimal levels, the main goal of TTIP is to remove “regulatory barriers” that restrict the potential profits of transnational corporations. These so called ‘barriers’ are some of our most prized social standards and environmental regulations that we have fought hard for: labour rights, food safety laws, restrictions on GMOs, regulations on the use of toxic chemicals, digital privacy laws, limits on CO2 emissions and many others. Among the latest leaks we have learned that port inspections on food imports will be dispensed with and that the EU has called for a legally binding commitment that would guarantee automatic licences for all future US crude oil and gas exports to Europe undermining all efforts to address the impending climate crisis. TTIP will also open up public services to privatisation including the NHS, education.
TTIP is a race to the bottom in standards and regulations.
It is bad for ordinary people and bad for the planet.
In addition companies will be able to sue governments, in secret courts for losses resulting from public policy decisions. By this arrangement, known as the Inter-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) claims are settled by international arbitration tribunals made up of corporate lawyers who sit in secret and are unaccountable. Where ISDS has been included in other bilateral treaties, it has already caused havoc with public policy and democracy. For example, under a similar treaty Veolia, a French company is suing the Egyptian government for raising the minimum wage and Philip Morris is suing the governments of Australia and Uruguay over public health policies on the labelling of cigarette packaging.
There is growing opposition to TTIP. Public health and justice campaigners have joining forces with trade unions and consumer groups to oppose it. Find out more and join the campaign at: https://www.nottip.org.uk/; https://www.waronwant.org/campaigns/trade-justice/ttip; https://www.globaljustice.org.uk/campaigns/trade
The fight over TTIP and the other free trade deals currently under negotiation will decide what type of future we bequeath to future generations, and to the planet we share. It is a fight we cannot afford to lose.