Many people haven’t and it’s worrying. Is it really about free trade or is it a licence for unfettered corporate greed?
It has huge implications for us all
It is a treaty being negotiated behind closed doors between the US and the EU, not to remove trade tariffs, but to remove regulatory ‘barriers’ which restrict the amount of profits that can be made by international corporations. These barriers include many social and environmental standards such as the use of toxic chemicals, labour rights, food and drug safety laws etc. It also forces public services to open up to private competition and worst of all, it allows corporations to sue governments for loss of profit brought about through policy decisions.
This effectively hands over a huge amount of power to corporations and puts governments on the back foot. A similar investment treaty that Australia signed with Hong Kong 1993 has led to cigarette company Philip Morris suing the federal government when they enforced legislation on plain cigarette packaging.
The tighter EU environmental regulations are also threatened, specifically the EU’s REACH regulation on chemicals, introduced in 2007 in order to protect human health and the environment from hazardous chemicals. The EU currently works on a precautionary basis whereby there is a need to prove that a chemical is safe before it can be used. Contrastingly, in the US it has to be proved that the chemical is unsafe with obvious potential conflicts. It works in the same way in terms of food safety.
We need to wake up to this threat and quickly. It is going largely undiscussed in the media but it has huge implications for us all, especially those that hold social and environmental values at our core.
The clock is ticking. The European Day of Action is on 11th October. 38 Degrees have put together a resource pack including posters and a petition that can be signed to persuade Vince Cable that we do not want TTIP to go ahead – 200,000 signatures are the target and this has nearly been reached.
Spread the word!