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120 groups demand: 'ditch the TTIP EU-US trade deal'

The Ecologist

21st May 2014

One the eve of the EU elections, 120 European campaign groups have rejected the TTIP trade negotiations between the EU and the US as a threat to democracy - and called on negotiators to ditch all, or at least key elements, of the proposed agreement.

This 'trade' deal is not about trade but about giving transnational corporations rights.

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is set to affect food safety, digital rights, social and labour standards and environmental protection.

The campaign groups believe the deal is being negotiated in the interests of big corporations, at the expense of citizens and the environment.

In a statement released today, the groups have demanded that the proposed 'investor state dispute settlement', which would allow foreign corporations to sue member state governments and the EU, is dropped from the agreement.

They also want negotiators to abandon proposals for a 'regulatory cooperation council', which would give companies and unelected officials power to determine regulation.

TTIP - a law unto itself

"The focus on non-tariff barriers and regulatory convergence is being used to push deregulation, increased investment guarantees, intellectual property rights leading to monopolies, and a race to the bottom", reads the statement.

"The proclaimed but unsubstantiated economic benefits are marginal to society at large even in the best case scenarios. All evidence to date suggests that these goals threaten important rights acquired in long democratic struggles and societal interests of the public in the EU, US, and the rest of the world.

"Negotiations are happening behind closed doors, without comprehensive and effective public consultation. National parliaments are not even informed about the details of the Commission's negotiation texts"

Undemocratic and anti-people

They claim the deal as it stands would slash social, environmental and labour standards, and have criticised the negotiations as lacking in transparency and democratic process.

The statement has been signed by environmental groups, social movements, consumer rights groups and trade unions, including the World Development Movement, War on Want and the Stop TTIP UK campaign.

The deal is being negotiated between the European Commission, acting on behalf of member states, and the US government. A fifth round of negotiations on the deal is due to conclude this Friday, 23 May.

Nick Dearden, director of the World Development Movement, said: "The deal attacks democracy, public services and the laws that protect citizens in the UK and the rest of the EU.

"It is also being seen as a blueprint for trade deals worldwide, so it will further undermine the ability of developing countries to stand up to big corporations. There is nothing progressive in the deal, and it should be ditched."

A massive transfer of power from people to capital

John Hilary, director of War on Want, said: "If this trade agreement is allowed to go through, it will be the biggest transfer of power to capital that we have seen in a generation.

"That is why we are seeing a surge in popular resistance to TTIP from across Europe and the USA alike, as people learn what it will mean for their futures. All those hoping to be elected to the European Parliament this Thursday should take note."

Linda Kaucher from the Stop TTIP UK campaign said: "This 'trade' deal is not about trade but about giving transnational corporations rights. We will lose our health and safety standards, in food and chemicals for instance, as regulations are driven down to suit these corporations. In fact this process is the basis of the deal. This is not what people here want."

 


 

Read the statement by 120 campaign groups.

 

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