TTIP of it

First published in Letters
Last updated

GOOD to see someone mention the “Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership” ( TTIP ) in print before May 22 (Letters, April 30).

David Cameron has called the upcoming EU Elections “the most important in a generation”. He’s a major cheerleader of TTIP. I wonder which MEP candidates are?

So why do others call it “The TTIP of the Anti-Democracy Iceberg”? ( Friends of The Earth   Europe ). Others a “corporate charter”?

Maybe Canada’s experience under the similar North American Free Trade Agreement ( NAFTA ) gives an idea. Amongst other ‘Investor- State-Dispute-Settlement’ ( ISDS ) suites levelled against Canada by big US Corporations take Ethyl vs Canada. Amongst its precautionary legislation Canada had banned petrol additive MMT (methyl manganese) a suspected neurotoxin linked to Attention Deficit Disorder.

Ethyl Group challenged Canada’s Government on the grounds its law against MMT restricted Ethyl’s trade. Rather than face a huge multibillion dollar payout Canada capitulated and apologising to Ethyl paid them 13 million dollars in ‘compensation’ to boot.

That’s only one example of where three corporate arbitrators play judge and jury in a neutral jurisdiction well away from a country’s own sovereignty. And no appeals to decisions allowed.

And each case legal costs to countries millions whatever the outcome. ( FOEE ) A powerhouse like Germany at present under the corporate cosh for stopping nuclear power generation post-Fukushima. Vattenfall Energy aren’t happy !

Uruguay vs Phillip Morris.

Australia vs Phillip Morris.

Ecuador vs a very familiar oil giant through ISDS refusing to abide by Ecuador’s own pollution legislation.

Unless David Cameron and the EU Commission are magicians how is the UK ( Wales ) / EU to guarantee our health ( NHS ), work, food, environment, data and public services generally etc stays safe and protected against such raw, naked, power the multinationals can unleash c/o these oh so kindly sounding ‘trade’ deals ?

Meanwhile inequality here and everywhere increases.

‘Free Trade’ notwithstanding!

We already have ‘low tariff ’ EU-US and UK-US Trade Agreements anyway. Don’t we? But is it they don’t offer ‘services’ negotiable as ‘barriers’ to trade ? TTIP does. And TTIP is apparently being hailed by big business as THE MODEL for all future global trade deals to come.

They find WTO procedure too cumbersome. ( ‘United We Fall’) As Ms Moller said our (and other EU member states’ ) birthrights and sovereign protective legislation could well be up for grabs. Even saving rain water could be called into question depending which corps’ the supplier of that basic human right.

Has been elsewhere.

So good luck to all the concerned EU /US ‘civil society’ and other groups and individuals on the TTIP case on our behalf. And those MEP candidates like Jill Evans and Derek Vaughan and their EU Alliances campaigning against ISDS within TTIP.

ROBIN GOODFELLOW

Prospect Place

Pembroke Dock

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