Monday, 19 January 2015

TTIP - Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership

Francois has made a start on the TTIP leaflet and press release. The main focus is to be ‘why should we be worried about this?’

Francois has craeted this draft article:

Sheffield Friends of the Earth is taking part in a EU-wide campaign to oppose a trade deal that is being negotiated between the EU and the US. Negotiations on the deal have been conducted largely in secret. However, leaked information has alarmed many civil society organisations across Europe.

The SFoE campaign is part of a EU-wide series of protests that have been growing since 2014.
The planned deal is called Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Its proponents claim that it will help develop the economies of the EU and the US.

Most of the benefits should come from removing differences in regulations between the two sides. Advocates of TTIP claim that harmonizing EU and US standards on everything from food labelling to the manufacture of technological goods will facilitate trade.

Opponents of TTIP are concerned that this will lower EU standards that currently protect consumers, workers, farm animals and the environment. For example, the deal could allow US companies to sell in the UK hormone-treated beef or chlorine-washed chicken. TTIP is also expected to grant private operators access to public sector contracts. This may result in privatization of the NHS.

There is also strong opposition to a part of the treaty that will allow foreign corporations to sue governments if they introduce regulations that affect their expected profits. Corporations will be able to bypass the national courts and go directly to international, investor-biased, tribunals, through a process called Investor-to-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS). For example, a company could sue for loss of profits if a future government attempts to increase the minimum wage, re-nationalise privatised public services or bans genetically modified foods, or if a local government bans fracking in their area.

EU-wide protests against TTIP took place on 11th October last year.  In the UK, the protests were supported by 47 civil society organisations including Friends of the Earth. A group of civil society organisations also attempted to set up a European Citizen’s Initiative (ECI) against TTIP, but this was rejected by the EU commission. They have now set up their own EU-wide petition. At the time of writing, it has obtained more than 1,266,000 signatures.

A public consultation set up by the EU Commission in the hope of attracting support for the deal attracted nearly 150,000 responses, of which 97% strongly opposed the ISDS clause. Nevertheless, the European Commission announced that it will continue with its reform agenda.

A protest involving Friends of the Earth Europe will take place on 3 and 4 February 2015 in Brussels.