Saturday 15 August 2015

TTIP puts our democracy in danger

TTIP stands for Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.  It doesn't yet exist but negotiations, between the European Commission and the United States, are taking place now to create it.  The aim is to turn these two huge economic areas into one great a free trade zone.

Well, I'm a Liberal and very much disposed towards free trade.  However, there are several  very serious problems related to TTIP.  The main ones, to my mind, are:

1.  As with any free trade area, what is permissible in one economy is permissible in the other.   But the US's regulations to maintain high food standards are much laxer than those in the EU. For example, they use many growth hormones banned in the EU to fatten their cattle and pigs, permit over 80 pesticides which the EU bans, and grow genetically modified crops which the EU allows individual members to ban.

2.  It is possible that TTIP will open up Europe's publicly provided services such as our NHS to yet further privatisation.

 The argument in favour of TTIP is that it will create jobs, employment and growth.  And you could argue that we've already accepted the pooling of our sovereignty with the other members of the EU, and thus sacrificed some of our ability to act independently, for the economic, political and social  advantages we gain.  However, whether it is wise to accept  further pooling with such a massive economy as the US, with such very different standards on workers' rights, environmental protection, food safety and public health is  highly questionable.

What in my view cannot be questioned  is this third objection.

3.  TTIP will introduce a system of dispute resolution called Investor-State Dispute Settlements, or ISDSs, These are operated by by tribunals entirely separate from the legal systems of the countries involved, and have the power to allow private companies to sue national governments if the companies believe that the governments have made regulations which interfere with their making of profits.  ISDSs already exist in other contexts and the examples of their powers are bizarre.  For example, the tobacco company Philip Morris is to sue the governments of both Australia and Uruguay for the loss of profits arising from  anti-smoking regulations.  In the context of the North Atlantic Free Trade Association, the government of Canada has been successfully sued for daring to stop the building of a quarry on the grounds that it would damage their environment.

In other words, ISDSs place the profit making interests of international businesses above the sovereignty of governments.

For 200 years or so (longer if you want to go back to Magna Carta) we have gradually wrested control of our societies from monarchs, aristocrats, generals, dictators and suchlike and implemented, albeit imperfectly, government of the people, for the people, by the people.  We are now in the process of handing our sovereignty over to unelected  private corporations.

Protests about TTIP are to be held throughout the EU (and possibly in the US as well) next Saturday, 22nd August. To sign the petitions click here.  For details of how to take part in the action see


  1. BUT ISDS's are NOT part of TTIP because the EU negotiators have refused to accept them. Get your facts right if you want to criticise this proposed treaty.

    1. Well, I'm very glad to hear it, but most of the literature seems to suggest that it's still in.

  2. The European commission's website
    says they want to make ISDs "more transparent", but they're still there. I couldn't see a date but that's what's on line at present

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. The problem with the TTIP amongst other things is that we shall end up adopting lower standards in health/food et al, the US standards. The USA of course is in deep financial trouble and why they are trying to get out of this at the expense of the EU and the far-east (TTP). Indeed leading economists have undertaken an in-depth analysis of the total debt in the USA and the fiscal gap is not US$18 trillion, but an unsustainable and unpayable US$223 Trillion. Therefore the USA is in deep doo-doo and they see these massive trade agreements as the 'only' way to rob Peter to pay Paul and to try and get them out of their enormous debt problem. The EU will therefore suffer long-term as they will become a party to this vast debt burden as partners and the word Partnership is significant in the TTIP. For the US will drag the EU down in the process in an attempt to pay down their colossal debt mountain. We are literally being used as fools by the Americans. Even a former US secretary-of-State for Labor under Clinton has estimated that 3 million jobs will go throughout the EU (including many in the UK) and be transferred to the low-cost Labour economies, destroying British futures and families.

    Indeed I cannot understand why EU politicians don't do their homework to see the real reason to why the USA wants these massive treaties that combined locks in 2/3rds of the global economic turnover and where they are not for the well-being of the 500 million+ EU citizens, but for their own ends to survive ultimately. It is a strategy therefore for survival in essence and the EU have been sold the TTIP on totally false pretences that will not be an economic benefit for the EU and its citizens.

    Indeed the EU according to some leading economists is being hoodwinked by the US and we shall pay dearly for this inept understanding by the EU parliament. That is why I state the people will be absolutely astounded and will most probably rise up over the next 2-decades when most is out in the open after the TTIP is signed up too.

    For if the TTIP succeeds, the consequences for the people of the EU will be catastrophic and far worse than the effects of WW2, as the ramifications brought about subtly over time by the TTIP, will be in perpetuity as the treaty is 'irrevocable - a sheer long term recipe for revolutions based upon historical facts, as no-one can stand hardship and oppression long-term and what the TTIP will bring to the table. The problem that the EU has once it finds out that it has been hoodwinked by the Americans, is that they have the military might to back up anything and the EU will have to accept the consequences. I am not saying that the US will take military action, but ultimately the EU knows it has and therefore will always be in the driving seat when it comes to trade disputes with the TTIP.

    But, the USA will also bankrupt the EU and its people in the process of paying off their fiscal gap of US$223, leaving China et al in control of the world order eventually, unless the USA starts to throw nuclear weapons around and then we are all done for - 'Western Government's Death Wish for Their People - Government does not protect the people anymore as corporate profits are far more important than human life and long-term health' -