What is TTIP?
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a major new deal being negotiated behind closed doors between the EU and USA.
It will cost at least 1 million jobs, undermine our most treasured public services, lead to a ‘race to the bottom’ in food, environmental and labour standards and, for the first time, allow US companies to sue the UK government in special courts.
TTIP is marketed as the answer to recession in Europe and the USA, with bogus promises of growth and jobs.
Yet the official study commissioned at the start of the talks calculated that at least 1 million people will lose their jobs in the EU and USA as a direct result of TTIP. With unemployment already at record levels in much of Europe, these people will find it impossible to get new jobs.
TTIP is not just about the EU and USA. Negotiators say that TTIP will set the standard for all future trade and investment rules across the world. This means that TTIP will enshrine the rights of transnational corporations over and above the needs of people and the planet, forever.
We cannot allow that to happen.
The three pillars of TTIP
TTIP is not a traditional trade agreement designed to reduce border tariffs on exports. With tariffs between the EU and US already at minimal levels, the stated aim of TTIP is to remove regulations that act as ‘barriers’ to corporate profits.
Yet these ‘barriers’ are in reality some of our most prized social standards and environmental regulations such as labour rights, food safety rules (including on GMOs), regulations on the use of toxic chemicals, digital privacy laws and even new banking safeguards introduced to prevent a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis.
TTIP will boost corporate profits by opening up public services and government contracts to the private sector and ‘locking in’ privatisations that have already happened.
Companies such as Virgin are already running front line health care services as a result of the Health and Social Care Act 2012. Health services are included in TTIP and NHS privatisation will be irreversible if the deal goes through. The same holds true for education, water and environmental services, as well as for any hope of renationalising the railways. Under TTIP, privatisation is for ever.
TTIP will grant US companies a new power to sue any future government in corporate courts for loss of profits. This ‘investor-state dispute settlement’ mechanism (ISDS) threatens to undermine the most basic principles of democracy, as previous cases from other treaties show:
- Dutch firm Achmea successfully sued the new government of Slovakia for reversing an unpopular health privatisation.
- Canadian company TransCanada is suing the USA for $15 billion for stopping a tar sands pipeline in the name of climate change
- Swedish company Vattenfall is suing the German government for €5 billion over its decision to phase out nuclear power by 2022.
- Veolia is suing the Egyptian government for loss of profits as a result of the country’s decision to raise the minimum wage.
- US company Lone Pine is suing Canada for the ban on fracking in Quebec.