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TTIP: Corporations profit, people lose

EU – USA “Free” Trade Pact: The TTIP Agreement (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) and its Consequences

The EU and USA are seeking to create a transatlantic free trade zone behind closed doors through a comprehensive pact. But TTIP has less to do with trade than with asserting corporate power. Under the cover of free movement of goods, social welfare will be dismantled and the ability to exert influence via political movement building will be massively limited; moreover, the democratic constitutional rule of law will be undermined.

Corporate Power instead of Democracy

The public first heard about the strictly secret negotiation positions held by the European Commission via leaked documents. The business lobby, on the other hand, influenced the majority of the content. Parliaments will only be able to look at the agreement once negotiations have ended – at that point they will only be able to say “yay” or “nay”.

Corporations attack standards

Tariffs are one aspect of the negotiations. But the focus is on principals and legal requirements seen as “barriers to trade”by corporations trying to make a profit. That leaves us not merely threatened by the oft-cited bleach-soaked chicken, hormone-injected meat, GMOs, or also fracking. In play are many things that are more fundamental: principles such as food sovereignty and benefits; regulations that protect the environment, consumer and health; regulations of financial services, of public services and the promotion of arts and culture; provisions protecting workers’ rights and data protection.

Corporations seek to weaken parliaments

As foreign corporations can always assert their interests with the right to dispute judgments, it is also supposed to be the case for investment capital that if businesses see their profit expectations shrink through policy actions, they may take their case to an international board of arbitration. Here, instead of ordinary courts, highly paid private trade lawyers decide cases behind closed doors. There are no possibilities for appeal, and millions in restitution payments come out of tax money. TTIP is planned as a “living” document that will continue to develop after negotiations are concluded. A transatlantic “regulatory commission” made up of bureaucrats and representatives from business is supposed to be given a formal voice in the drafting of laws, even before the legislative process in the parliaments.

ATTAC calls for resistance now!

The free trade ideology is the central component of the EU’s foreign trade strategy. TTIP is not the only attempt to dismantle social welfare. This is also happening in the negotiations around CETA with Canada or with TiSA, the trade in services agreement. TTIP and other agreements do not smooth the way to solving economic and environmental crises; they are all milestones on the way to an unjust world and to “market-conforming democracy”. Together with people from Europe and the USA we are committed to STOPPING the negotiations. (www.ttipunfairhandelbar.de)

Our alternative: Just and environmentally sound world trade!

Attac demands a fundamental shift in trade policy. The needs of people and the protection of the environment must serve as guiding principles in the EU’s trade policy. A European alliance of numerous trade and environment organizations has developed principles for an alternative trade policy.
www.alternativetrademandate.org

TTIP Video