About Us
Back Issues
WAKE UP!! WAKE UP!! It's yer hardly a peasant surprise...
The free weekly direct action newsheet published in Brighton since 1994 - Copyleft - Information for Action

TTIP of the Iceberg

The US and the EU are negotiating a new trade agreement – TTIP – which amounts to the biggest transfer of power to corporations seen in recent years.

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) aims to liberalise the market between the US and the EU and remove barriers to trade. Its existence was leaked in March this year and exposed by a German newspaper. It’s currently at the stage of negotiation ‘cycling’ between officials in Europe and the States, and has come under fire for being conducted with a complete lack of transparency. The process is due to conclude by 2014/2015.

The US and EU blocks already have some of the lowest trade tariffs in the world. The big liberalisation effect, then – which neoliberals claim will create millions of jobs and multilateral prosperity – is the removal of regulation barriers. Where current EU law prevents US imports on beef produced with growth hormones which are against EU law, for example, under TTIP these barriers will be overridden.

The areas most affected by this will be environmental and food standards regulation (those Americans sure love pumping their livestock full of questionable chemicals), hard-won health and safety and labour laws, as well as financial. While regulation of the finance sector has been slow and inadequate since the 2008 meltdown, including it in the TTIP deal will only make it harder to bring in further changes. In fact, the US has called for the finance sector to be excluded to protect the likes of the Dodd-Frank Act.

And that’s only the start of why governments are going to lose autonomy to transnational capital… TTIP also includes a mechanism whereby corporations can sue states for loss of profits if they have, or seek to create, any new legislation that they claim would damage business. Claims would be heard through a body for Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS). Only multinational companies from another jurisdiction can use the ISDS: governments and civil society aren’t allowed to sue corporations, naturally. Although bills for compensation won by corporations in the ISDS will be footed by the taxpayer.

In fact, corporations have has a pretty cushy position in the whole process. The agreement may have been kept secret from the public, but multinationals have been intimately involved. Over 93% of preparatory meetings in Brussels were with business groups, and the influence of private interest lobbyists in the US is notorious, with over 85% of their trade advisory system dominated by business.

Of course, there is one type of law that corporations love: intellectual property and copyright. There are to be tightened even more under TTIP. As we’ve seen before with WTO TRIP rules, for example, this can be used by pharmaceutical companies to protect drug patents and maximise profits  - at the expense of people in need and public health services.

But alls well if it leads to wealth creation, right? Actually the GDP-boosting and job creation claims have been debunked left, right and centre. The claim it will relieve unemployment has been angrily debunked by the likes of the US’ Centre for Economic and Policy Research, who have gone so far as to accuse the White House of downright lying to sell the idea to the public. Other sources (see Chomsky) claim the secrecy surrounding the deal has been cultivated with the purpose of avoiding public scrutiny, as the whole shebang is so unpalatable to people both sides of the Atlantic.

TTIP has been picked up by the likes of the World Development Movement and others, in a NoTTIP campaign.

Day of Action: 12th July 2014

See http://www.nottip.org.uk/ to get involved.

Stories about similar subjects...

An update on Brighton Hospitality workers and their work around employability rights, unionisation and campaign success.

Amsterdam squat evicted in gentrification battle.

Mass evictions of migrants in progress now

We started writing about three interesting but unrelated things happening in June. Here is an amalgamated version, which is worth a read.

Re-occupation of the Hambach Forest, near Cologne in Germany, where activists occupy and fight the expansion of opencast mining.

Probation services set to be taken over by private sector mega corporations, during 'revolution' in prison and probation services.

A national week of solidarity with Afghanistan - drone capital of the world - takes place with Fly Kites Not Drones day, with our local event hosted by anti-militarists Smash Edo.

Debbie awaits sentencing after farce of a court process

Twitter: @SchNEWS