MARCH AGAINST MONSANTO MAY 24TH 2014 MAM LONDON
The StopTTIP campaign in the UK seeks to halt the negotiations on this permanently-damaging, secretive ‘trade’ deal by informing people of the effects that it will have and encouraging them to actively oppose the deal.
StopTTIP is part of a coalition of groups in other EU member states, at the EU level and in the US that want to stop this agreement or that have serious concerns about elements of it and want them changed.
This deal, primarily in the interests of transnational corporations and especially financial service corporations, aims to increase corporate power while diminishing governments’ abilities to control transnational corporations or to legislate for public benefit.
The UK has a particular role in TTIP. The most insistent and powerful transnational corporations pushing this deal forward are financial services corporations, of which a great many have a base in the City of London. The City of London Corporation and its front group ‘TheCityUK’ dictate UK input into EU trade policy, dominate the global trade context in which governments are being locked into international trade deals, and manipulate UK domestic legislating to ensure it fits with this global agenda.
The standard inclusions in free trade agreements are reduced tax on trade-in-goods, increased corporate rights in trade-in-services, a corporate public procurement grab, and the protection of corporate intellectual property rights.
However the main elements of TTIP go much further, effectively handing government policy-making to transnational corporations, along with rights to sue governments for the introduction of any regulation that doesn’t suit them.
These are the main elements of TTIP in addition to the standard inclusions:
1) ‘Regulatory harmonisation’, which will degrade the regulations that protect us from corporations, across many areas.
2) A ‘Regulatory Co-ordination Committee’, set up to continue this regulatory harmonising with strong and early corporate input, into the future after the deal is signed up, thus overriding governments’ policy-making and allowing for a fast sign-up of the deal.
3) ‘Investor State Dispute Settlement’ (ISDS) which will allow corporations to sue governments for any government action that limits their future profits.
4) ‘Global rules’ to be established in TTIP and then enforced on the rest of the world.
Some of the elements of TTIP that concern people in the EU are:
- - The risks to standards in harmonisation regulation across e.g. health and safety, Food Safety including GM, chemical safety, data protection, Fracking and Mining, Climate Change measures and public services.
- - Investor State Dispute Settlement in terms of potential costs to the state
- - The inherent threats to democracy and states’ loss of space to regulate
- - The undemocratic secrecy of the negotiations
- The centrality of corporate interests rather than good jobs and living standards
- The use of negative listing for services liberalisations, so that all services are automatically liberalised except those listed for exception before the signup of the agreement.
In the US, where NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement) caused huge job losses, and where the parallel Transpacific Partnership (TPP), called ‘NAFTA on steroids’ is also being negotiated, labour issues are a high concern.
Despite the disastrous effects of deregulation and liberalisation in the financial services industry, the EU is also trying to insist that financial service regulation is included in the TTIP.
The City of London Corporation, representing transnational financial service corporations with a foothold in London, has a fundamental role in EU trade deals. Therefore a campaign to stop the TTIP here also has to work to expose the power of the City of London Corporation.
Trade agreements like the TTIP are progresses by secrecy, spin, and the use of technical trade language. See Spin Busting page.
Particular to the UK is the situation of the NHS. Health was targeted by the Trade Commission for harmonisation with the US several years before the launch of the TTIP and the NHS is now harmonised with the US corporate-benefit public health model and the privatised investment opportunities in the Health and Social Care Act already liberalised.
If the agreement does go ahead, this will prevent the changes resulting from the Act from being reversed. Therefore this campaign wants the UK government to ensure that the NHS is exempt from the TTIP negotiations, including from the investment chapter of the agreement and from Investor State Dispute Settlement.
See how the EU Trade Commissioner, Karel de Gucht fails to defend the massive ‘trade’ agreement he is pushing through.