Well the 3 pillars of TTIP don’t sound so bad….Deregulation, Privatization, and Corporate Courts? There is very good reason why most of the European Union and Consumers on both sides of the Atlantic don’t want this deal to go through. For now, the talks and negotiations have failed, hopefully for good!
The whole idea of “trade deals” is to improve the economy by removing regulations, tariffs, etc… so trade is fair, competition increased, and boost the overall economy. Keep in mind that the EU and US tariffs are already at minimal levels. The aim of TTIP is to reduce the regulatory barriers to trade for big business, it compromises things like food safety laws, environmental legislation, banking regulations, and the sovereign powers of individual nations.
Let’s start with food and environmental safety. As we have already spoken about GMO foods and seeds, and how the EU already has very strict controls, meaning virtually no GMO foods. That in comparison to the US regulations which are less strict; 70% of all processed foods sold in the US supermarkets now contain genetically modified ingredients. The US has far less regulations on the use of pesticides, and growth hormones in it’s beef, where both of these are tightly restricted in the EU due to links to cancer. Also the EU is tougher on potentially toxic substances, for example the EU currently bans 1200 substances from use in cosmetics, the us only bans 12. The EU would have to lower many of it’s standards in order for TTIP a reality.
Banking regulations would be the opposite of the above. In the US, the Frank Dodd act has imposed tougher financial rules on banks, while the EU’s financial regulations are not nearly as strict. TTIP would reverse the progress the US has made in this area, and would mean handing the power back to the banks.
Privacy: While we as Americans have grown used to the NSA’s phone spying and internet monitoring, the people of the EU are not so forgiving. Passing TTIP could bring back ACTA (the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement), which would ease data privacy laws and a restriction of public access to pharmaceutical companies’ clinical trials. ACTA also would require internet service providers to monitor people’s online activity.
Jobs: The EU has admitted that TTIP would shift jobs from the EU to the US, because our labor standards and trade union rights are lower. Much like NAFTA cost the US one million jobs. The US would cost the EU upwards of 600,000 jobs by the latest estimates.
One of the big pushes of TTIP would be access to the EU’s NHS. Which are public utilities, public health care, education and water services would be opened up to US companies.
The thing is the big thing… ISDS or Investor-state dispute settlement, or “secret courts”. This would allow companies to sue governments if those governments’ policies cause a loss of profits. It would allow unelected transnational corporations to dictate policy to democratically elected governments. Much like the US labeling law for meat products. In order to protect American Consumers, the US law dictates that all meat products must state the “country of origin” on it’s label. The US was sued by Canadian and Mexican corporations and won in the World Trade Organization (WHO) courts. The US was fined, and will continue to be fined until it changes the US law.
Another similar case is the Swedish energy company Vattenfall, which is suing Germany over it’s decision to phase out nuclear power plants after the Fukushima disaster in Japan. The German government is making public health policy for the people of Germany, and are being sued by a energy giant for a potential loss of profit.
The arbitrators are usually commercial lawyers and academic experts in international law. These tribunals have been criticized for being secretive and favoring business over public interest.
France has already left the negotiation table, and other members of the EU are following suit. All 28 member states of the EU must agree in order for TTIP to pass. The fate of TTIP, and the Canadian-EU trade pact CETA, are both in trouble. These trade pacts do not benefit consumers, but large corporations. The EU would have to lower environmental and consumer standards, in addition to changing some of it’s laws, or be at the mercy of corporations.
TTP the Trans Pacific Partnership is being voted on in congress as we speak. Again, this trade pact has many of the same elements as TTIP. You should be aware, both were co-authored by large corporations, big Pharma, big energy, Monsanto, and Banks.