As Daily Pickings reported on Saturday, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is in trouble – in the UK a Mirror online poll showed 94% say NO to the trade agreement and protest against it is spreading throughout Europe and the US.
A major stumbling block is the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism which will take disputes, between corporations and nation states, out of national courts to be settled in secret commercial tribunals, allowing corporations to sue governments for loss of profits.
Negotiations were temporarily suspended for a European public consultation on ISDS, which attracted 150,000 responses. Yet rather than deal with these objections properly, they’re being ignored as the European Commission hurries to complete a similar agreement with Canada, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). This will obviate the need for ISDS to be included in the EU-US agreement (TTIP) because corporations will be able to sue governments for $billions via Canadian subsidiaries.
TTIP Update XXXVII by Glynn Moody
[“In my last TTIP column, I discussed the CETA negotiations with Canada, which started before those of TTIP, but have continued in parallel with them. That’s because what happens with CETA has a massive effect on TTIP, in part because it acts as a template for the TTIP, but also because Canada’s economy is tightly integrated with that of the US in many ways, and so CETA is already a kind of shadow agreement with the US. Once again, the area where that probably matters the most is for the investor-state dispute settlement chapter included in CETA.
“To see why, consider what happens if ISDS is not included in TTIP, but is present in CETA. Philip Morris is suing Australia over the latter’s strict laws aimed at reducing tobacco consumption, even though the trade agreement between the US and Australia does not contain any ISDS mechanism, by invoking an agreement between Australia and Hong Kong, using its subsidiary in the latter. Similarly, any US company that wanted to sue the European Union would not be greatly inconvenienced if there is no ISDS in TTIP: it will simply use a Canadian subsidiary, which are pretty common given the integration between the economies in north America, to sue using CETA…
“…Meanwhile, Europe-wide actions are being organised. For example, there’s the European Citizens’ Initiative, an official petition against both TTIP and CETA:
“An alliance of more than 200 civil society organisations from all across Europe has launched a European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) with the aim of repealing the European Union’s negotiating mandate for the Transatlantic Trade Investor Partnership (TTIP) and not concluding the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).
“The ECI was registered with the European Commission on 15 July. The collection of signatures is due to start in mid September 2014.”]
These agreements, along with the TransPacific Partnership (TPP) are weapons of wealth extraction and oppression.
To find out more about the Critical Thinking project go to freecriticalthinking.org