TTIP stands for “Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership” and is also known as TAFTA, Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement. It is a free trade agreement of 800 million that has been secretly negotiated since June 2013. Corporate groups or multinationals dominate the negotiations. Legislators, consumer, environmental and labor groups are denied access and depend on leaks.
Since tariffs are already very low (around 3%), non-wage trade barriers, e.g. labor and environmental regulations, are the main theme of negotiations. Europeans fear that privatization and Americanization could be massively encouraged. Book dealers and public sector workers fear takeovers. If a French university wants to open a branch in Munich, it would be entitled to all the subsidies given to the University of Munich.
The TTIP like TISA (Trade in Services Agreement) threatens the sovereignty and decision-making of community. Corporations can sue states but states cannot sue corporations and decisions are irrevocable. “Foreign investors” are set above labor and environmental groups. Philip Morris is suing Australian and Uruguay for lost profits because of warnings on cigarette packages. A French company is suing for lost profits in its Egyptian waste disposal firm because of higher Egyptian minimum wages. Vattenfall, a Swedish energy conglomerate, is suing Germany for 4 billion Euros for closing two antiquated nuclear power plants. A Canadian firm Lone Pine is suing Quebec through an American subsidiary for lost profits because of its anti-fracking law.
The European Commission suspended the secret TTIP negotiations for four months to get citizen consultation on the Investor-State Dispute Settlement provision. This proposed parallel system with 3-person arbitration courts allows corporations to sue for lost profits and decisions are irrevocable.
What a scandal to set “foreign investors” above labor and the environment!
Stop the TTIP!
authors: D Haufler, S Wagenknecht and F Roetzer
A recent 29-page study from Tufts University (October 2014) warns that the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership could cause European disintegration, unemployment and instability: