Petition: EU about to sign TTIP agreement

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Jane Arnold

Sep 30, 2015, 3:27:31 AM9/30/15

What is the problem?

The EU soon intends to sign two far-reaching trade agreements: one with
Canada (CETA = Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) and one with
the USA (TTIP = Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership). The
official line is that this will create jobs and increase economic growth.
However, the beneficiaries of these agreements are not in fact citizens,
but big corporations:

Investor-State-Dispute-Settlement (ISDS): Foreign investors (i.e.
Canadian and US companies) receive the right to sue for damages if they
believe that they have suffered losses because of laws or measures of the
EU or of individual EU member states. This can also affect laws which were
enacted in the interest of the common good, such as environmental and
consumer protection.

Groups of companies are intended to be included even during the
elaboration of new regulations and laws if their trade interests could be
affected. The name for this is: “regulatory cooperation”. It means that
representatives of big business are invited to participate in expert
groups to influence new draft laws, even before these are discussed in the
elected parliaments. This undermines democracy!

Big business had, and still has, excessive influence on the secret
negotiations relating to CETA and TTIP. Alone in the preparatory phase for
TTIP, 590 meetings took place between the EU Commission and lobby
representatives, according to official statements. 92% of these meetings
were with representatives of companies, while only in a few cases there
were discussions with consumer and trade union representatives. And also
during the negotiations, representatives of industry are exercising
influence. Some formulations in draft texts which have filtered through to
the public originate directly from the pens of company lobbyists.

The negotiations are conducted in secret. Even our public
representatives know little if anything about their progress. They receive
the results in the form of long agreements (the CETA agreement, for
example, has about 1,500 pages) only after conclusion of the negotiations,
and are therefore able only to either accept or reject the whole agreement
without being able to ask for amendments.

Employee rights are coming under pressure, and jobs in numerous
industries are endangered. In the USA, only a few basic rights for
employees are recognised (only two out of the eight ILO core labour
standards). In agriculture and in the electrical industry, massive job
losses could occur because of the tougher competition from abroad.

Liberalisation and privatisation are intended to become one-way
streets. The return of public utilities, hospitals, or waste collection to
the public sector once they have been privatised would be made more
difficult or even impossible through CETA and TTIP.

The EU and its member states are falling under pressure to allow risky
technologies such as fracking or GM technology.

Foodstuff standards and consumer protection for cosmetics and medical
products threaten to be set at the same levels as US standards. However,
we need higher rather than lower standards of protection, whether they
apply to the use of pesticides, factory farming, or clean sources of
energy. Regulatory cooperation and ISDS would make this more difficult or

CETA and TTIP want to increase the power of multinationals at the expense
of democracy and the general good. We must not allow this to happen!
Please sign our European Citizens’ Initiative! [ ]

Together we can stop TTIP and CETA!
Please donate
Join the movement against TTIP and CETA


Opposition in Scotland and the UK is being coordinated by Global Justice
Now (formerly World Development Movement, WDM)

where there is more information on the trade agreements.


The National
September 28th, 2015 - 12:08 am Kathleen Nutt

All 56 SNP MPs sign motion expressing major concerns about TTIP

CAMPAIGNERS against the big-business deal TTIP have welcomed the signing
of a Commons motion raising major concerns about it by all 56 SNP MPs.

Nick Dearden, director of Global Justice Now, last night welcomed the
move, saying it was the first time a large group of opposition politicians
had taken a strong stance regarding the damaging impact threatened by the
Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which is being
negotiated between the EU and the US.

Caroline Lucas, the Green Party MP, put forward the early day motion, and
it has now been signed by every member of the SNP group at Westminster, as
well as the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and his shadow Chancellor John

The motion spells out particular fears over the treaty’s investor state
dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism, which would give foreign corporations
legal power to sue governments over new laws being proposed by governments
that they could argue would damage profits, as well as measures that could
undermine a government’s ability to legislate on food safety regulations,
environmental standards, public services contracts and workers’ rights.

It also called on the UK Government to ensure TTIP is fully scrutinised by
Parliament and to oppose inclusion of the ISDS mechanism.

“This is a significant development,” said Dearden. “Until this point we’ve
had signs of concerns among opposition MPs but this is the first time such
a large number of MPs in one party has come out to say they are
fundamentally concerned about the negotiations. That bodes very well as
the SNP makes up a large part of the opposition now.”

The European Commission – which is leading the negotiations – estimates
the TTIP deal could boost the size of the EU economy by £85bn by removing
trade barriers with the United States.

Supporters also argue it will lead to consumers enjoying cheaper products
and services as tariff barriers – levies imposed to control cross-border
trade – are cut to zero.

However, across Europe a huge grassroots movement has sprung up against
the treaty, with growing fears that the main beneficiaries will be
American big businesses.

Dearden said while he welcomed the SNP’s group support for Lucas's motion,
he would like the party to take a stronger stance against the whole

“Most SNP supporters are against TTIP but the official party policy is not
to oppose the whole treaty,” he said. “They have concerns about the impact
of the treaty on the NHS and concerns about the corporate court system but
they don’t oppose the treaty in its entirety. They think Scotland could
benefit in terms of export opportunities to the US.”

He added: “But we really can’t see this treaty fulfilling the needs of
ordinary people in Scottish society.

“This treaty is all about representing the interests of big business.
Large corporations are the ones who are going to be benefitting from the
corporate courts system, pushing for weaker regulations and weaker
standards, and when big businesses gets more of its way it is harder for
small businesses to compete.

“This treaty will make it harder for smaller businesses to bid for
government contracts when faced with competition from US giants prepared
to undercut their bids, and farmers in Scotland will have to compete
against huge agriculture enterprises in the US working in a framework with
fewer regulations. Small businesses should be very concerned about this

The Scottish Greens have come out definitively against the deal,
describing it as an “assault on democracy”, while Scottish Labour is also
opposed to the ISDS mechanism and to any threat the deal would pose to the

Lawsuits against a number of national governments have already been
pursued in other countries that have been the subject of similar trade

Fracking company Lone Pine launched a $230 million (£150m) lawsuit against
the Canadian Government in 2011 after Quebec’s moratorium on fracking amid
environmental concerns.

The firm, which had been issued with fracking licences before the
moratorium, raised the action under the North American Free Trade
Agreement using the ISDS clause, claiming a threat to profits.

The Scottish Government has no formal role in the negotiations and
ratification of the agreement is the responsibility of the European
Parliament and EU heads of state.

Negotiations began in July 2013 and are expected to continue throughout
much of next year.

A SNP spokesman said last night: “Any potential economic benefits of TTIP
cannot come at the price of the threat of the privatisation of our public
services like the NHS.

“As we made clear in our General Election manifesto, we will seek an
explicit exemption for the NHS and Scottish Water, as part of a general
public-sector exemption, from the agreement – and share the view that
there has been a lack of transparency during the negotiation process.”

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