Most of you probably haven’t heard of the TTIP, and to be honest, I don’t blame you. While you might think there’s not really a reason why you don’t know, I’d say that certain people don’t want you to hear about it, and I’ll explain why.
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is currently being negotiated between the European Union and the USA. While reading it I stumbled across this sentence and begin to investigate.
“Improved regulatory coherence and cooperation by dismantling unnecessary regulatory barriers such as bureaucratic duplication of effort”
This sounds wonderful Aditya! Surely this is good?
Well, not quite. The broader implications of this seemingly innocent sentence are actually quite sinister. When you think about it, what TTIP aims to do is crush the best parts of European system we currently have. Let’s take the idea of public health care, something alien to the American government. What TTIP would do could make it easier for private American firms to gobble up the NHS. The worst bit? There’s nothing we can do about this. Negotiations are taking place behind closed doors so whatever happens will happen*. On top of this, TTIP will cause the loss of jobs in Europe. Look at NAFTA, a similar venture, which resulted in the loss of around 700,000 jobs which were shifted to Mexico. Under TTIP, jobs will probably cross the Atlantic to the USA, where trade unions have less rights and where the standard of labour is lower.
Also, this economic liberalisation can only lead to something most people dread. Banking regulations seem set to be relaxed under TTIP. The recession happened because of a lack of financial regulation. Big business has proven time and time again that it cannot be trusted with money. I think, if anything we need greater regulation, not less.
TTIP could also include an ISDS clause (Investor-state dispute settlement).This would grant companies the power to sue the government if they feel they are being treated unfairly. Owen Jones of the Guardian quite concisely explains the sheer absurdity of this here. Which other wonderful agreement I previously talked about also has this? NAFTA. The example Owen goes on to reference was when Philip Morris sued Australia over cigarette packaging, thanks to an ISDS clause in a trade deal. This shows us very clearly that ISDS can, and will value saving profits over saving lives. A system that brings out the worst in us is not one that should be implemented at all.
So, I hope that if you came into this thinking TTIP was worthwhile, you’ve left it acutely aware of the danger it poses to the European way of life. Needless to say it will become a heated discussion when the 2017 EU referendum in the UK happens, but I’m flagging it up before everyone else makes a big deal out of it.
The only pro I can take from this? Money. But I don’t think it’ll go to the right people, and that’s those who actually work.
If TTIP was an idea pitched for a horror movie, then I can’t see it coming anywhere but first.
*Yesterday I took part in a protest with a friend against this trade deal in the hope that the Government would hear our cries and disclose more information about this to the general public. If you’d also like join the movement against TTIP you can sign a petition here.