The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a free trade and investment agreement being negotiated between the European Union and the United States. If successfully passed, the TTIP would replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as the worlds largest free trade area, with a combined GDP of over $30 trillion. The agreement is being negotiated in an undemocratic manner: by an unelected group of political representatives, in Brussels.
According to official estimates, TTIP could add over $130 billion annually to the U.S. economy, and over $119 billion to the E.U. The TTIP will help to smooth capital flows, the agreement will dramatically help to reduce costs of big businesses and investments. The agreement would overhaul a current web of regulations and tariffs, by overriding existing (conflicting) regulations from both sides, with fewer constraints allowing capital to flow more freely.
“Europe does have a different level of standard there, an unreasonably high level and not one based on science… European consumers have the same degree of confidence that if it’s good for an American family to eat, then it’s good for the Europeans to eat. So if a suit like that was brought, and was successful, it would mean that the country banning the product would have to pay compensation to the industry involved, or let the product in… that would be a big step forward” –Stuart E. Eizenstat, US ambassador and Co-Chair of the Transatlantic Business Council, USA.
Unfortunately, the consumer will pay the price in the end, due to the potential new risks posed to their health and safety as a consequence of reduced regulations, which were put in place for consumer protection. In December, U.S. and E.U. officials completed the 3rd round of negotiations, the 4th round is scheduled to occur in March of 2014, following a review session held between US and EU trade representatives.
Another growing worry for some with the TTIP is the issue of multinational corporate sovereignty. Some predict that corporations will abuse their right to take action against various governments to push their agendas forward.
“Corporate sovereignty is about putting the corporation above the nation. It lets a company sue a country, and they can do that when they claim that their expectation (future profits) is being diminished by changes in legislation… What I think will happen is that corporations like Monsanto, will sue the European Union for billions of dollars, because they will say that refusing to allow genetically modified organisms to be sold here is actually a barrier to trade, and therefore their profits have suffered, and therefore under the TTIP regulations, assuming they go through, they will claim to have a right to sue the European Union.” – states journalist Glyn Moody
Some believe that the growing NSA scandal could slow-down or tarnish the TTIP efforts: how can you have trade when you don’t have trust? To date, there have been no real consequences for the organization which is responsible for arguably one of the most shameful and gross violations to civil rights ever revealed in the US.
“This treaty is [nothing] else than about submitting the EU working force to corporate [America],… This is all a hoax, all a lie,… We have our own rules, they are working fine, why should we submit ourselves to the Monsanto mafia? – stated economic analyst, Michael Mross
Some of the thus unmentioned issues are pesticides (like neonicotinoids) and regulations about genetically modified organisms. Corporations will gain the right to sue governments for stopping their products: if it is allowed in one, it will be allowed in the other.. All in all, the money that is likely going to be earned through this is never to be seen by the average consumer, who will still have to face the costs of having even less control or knowledge about what they are eating and buying.