TTIP – The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership
What is it?
TTIP is a trade agreement designed to make trade between the United States and the European Union happen with more ease than they do currently, this is often achieved by reducing tariffs incurred when trades on goods and services are made.
And the Problem?
The first red flag to those who enjoy democracy is that the negotiations fly in the face of the very concept of democracy. These negotiations in their entirety are occurring in secret despite an initial promise from the European Commission stating “Negotiations will be transparent”. So despite this we now learn that the public will be denied access to information pertaining to the ongoing development of the agreement and will remain unavailable for a further 30 years.
As mentioned reducing tariffs is commonly the method for streamlining trade, however tariffs between the EU and USA are already extremely low, so instead the transnational corporations have had to get more creative. They instead intend to remove regulations on trade that hinder them from having free reign and grant them potential for more profit at the expense of service.
The pesky regulations beleaguering the poor corporations include:
-Labour Rights – Food Safety Standards
-Use of Toxic Chemicals – Data Protection Laws
-Banking Safeguards – Healthcare Standards
-Health and Safety Practices – Environmental/Animal Welfare Responsibilities
A violation of labour rights would spell disaster for jobs across the EU as transnational corporations would seek to use labour from the US because they can pay them less, they have to conform to far fewer health and safety standards and US workers can be pushed around more easily as unions have been actively discouraged which has led to their dissolved status.
Food standards in the EU would be dragged down to the level of our US counterparts. European food standards are some of the best in the world as they have been hard fought over for decades, while many of us enjoy munching on Oreos or chugging Coca Cola, our experience of these products are very different due to our regulations, for one we don’t have the calf fattening high fructose corn syrup soaking every morsel of our food. Furthermore the US does not conform to the greater level of environmental and animal welfare standards we take for granted in the EU, our regulations save us from the standards (or lack of) that inflict GMOS, pesticides, hormone treated beef, growth hormones and chlorine treated chicken on the US public. Finally we are protected to larger extent from the abuse of antibiotics when rearing livestock which stands to affect treatment of infection dramatically in our futures.
Under this trade agreement public services and government contracts will be offered to transnationals triggering a new wave of privatisation and as is customary a significant drop in quality of service. This will impact how we deal with the ever looming threat of fracking for our energy needs and further degradation and dismantling of our National Health Service. As more of the NHS is privatised and placed in the hands of Wall Street backed money and death merchants we edge closer to an American healthcare model. Most people are aware of the American model on health care, it is essentially be rich or die and deregulation puts us at further risk of adopting this model as it is in the interest of many corporations not just American ones. The consequence is that it isn’t profitable to offer insurance to people who are currently ill so they won’t receive cover. Data will be shared and health insurance companies will decide who they do and do not wish to provide healthcare insurance to and we will be left with a maligned cross-section of UK citizens struggling to survive as increasingly the size of your bank account will be the determining factor on whether you should live.
And as private contracts are signed we will never see them back in public hands because:
We will also find that the trade agreement will equate corporations, foreign and domestic; to government status which is unthinkable, private corporations pushing their agendas cannot function in this manner if we wish to go on living in a democracy. As a democracy we make public policy decisions, with this trade agreement corporations will be able to sue the government if policies made democratically affect their profits negatively. So basically we can run our country democratically but the corporate entities can sue as soon as it doesn’t conform to their interests.
Just think if the NHS is 80% sold off and we finally realise this was a catastrophic error it is already too late, as taking it back to public hands would result in the corporate owners losing money and therefore suing the government (for potentially billions) in a tribunal operating outside of our powers leaving us with no chance of appealing the verdict.
TTIP exists to deregulate systems that ensure high standards across a multitude of areas that affect our daily lives whether it be; the food we consume, the air we breathe, the jobs we use to sustain ourselves, our well being in terms of health and safety and most crucially it would make a mockery of the democracy we get to experience. If you think your vote doesn’t make much of a difference now, if you feel Westminster isn’t representing you, that’s completely understandable, but you just wait, if deregulation can’t be vetoed, nobodies vote will mean anything, nobodies interests will be served, other than the interests of corporations to make more money and extend their control to ensure more money can always be exploited.