Do you know what the TTIP is?

Do you know what the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is? If not, there could be a reason for this as Ron Mendel, Senior Lecturer in Sociology explains:

The release of documents earlier this month by Greenpeace about the negotiations between the US and EU on the most extensive trade deal of its kind confirmed the fears of opponents to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

Advocates of the trade agreement claimed that it would boost the economies of the signatories, create millions of jobs and benefit consumers. Skeptics retorted that these alleged benefits were at least exaggerated and, at the very worst, deliberately misrepresented the likely consequences of TTIP.

At the heart TTIP was removing regulatory obstacles to the trade of services and goods and the promotion of transnational business opportunities. Accordingly, a whole body of environment, consumer, health and safety standards would be at risk. As the documents reveal US negotiators are pushing for the elimination of an array of scientifically based restrictions on the use of pesticides in agriculture, the authorisation of the development of genetically modified food and a series of measures that opens up the public procurement process to businesses, which in England could mean more services provided by the NHS could be privatised.

The documents reinforce the perception that business interests will be protected at the expense of the public, for it strengthens the mechanism to settle disputes between corporations and individual member countries, known as the Investor State Dispute Settlement framework. This would establish tight ground rules to assess the validity of allegations from companies that national governments, exerting their sovereign rights to introduce regulations, threatened their anticipated or actual profits.

The revelations which followed at the close of the 12th round of secret talks between the EU and the US have boosted the anti-TTIP campaigns mounting in Europe. In Germany less than 30% of the public support TTIP, more and more MEPs are speaking out against provisions of the trade agreement, and the French government has indicated it might use its veto to kill TTIP altogether. Above all, the lack of transparency in TTIP talks have irritated campaigners. John Hillary, the executive director of War on Want expressed this most forcefully when he stated:

“total secrecy was the only way the European Commission could keep the European people from learning the truth …, and now the cat is out of the bag”.
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