These documents make clear the scale and scope of the trade citizens of the United States and the European Union are being asked to make in pursuit of corporate profits. It is time for the negotiations to stop, and the debate to begin.
Should we be able to act when we have reasonable grounds to believe our health and wellbeing is at risk, or must we wait until the damage is done?
The TTIP has been negotiated in secret and the only information available to the public has come from unofficial leaks. “Now that we can see the actual texts, the EU negotiators have nowhere left to hide,” John Hilary, the executive director of War on Want, told The Independent.“The gloves are off, and they know they are in for a proper fight.”
The Independent reports that the documents indicate the U.S. is attempting to change regulation in Europe to lower environmental protections, consumer rights, and other policies important to EU citizens. The documents show that trade representatives on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean have experienced “irreconcilable” differences that could possibly interfere with negotiations.
Greenpeace complains that corporations are being “granted a privileged voice in important decisions” and intervening at the “earliest stages of the decision making process”.
“TTIP is being cooked up behind closed doors because when ordinary people find out about the threat it poses to democracy and consumer protections, they are of course opposed to it,” said Guy Taylor, trade campaigner at Global Justice Now. “It’s no secret that the negotiations have been on increasingly shaky ground. Millions of people across Europe have signed petitions against TTIP, and hundreds of thousands have taken to the streets to call for an end to the negotiations.
Just weeks ago, Activist Post reported an estimated 40,000–90,000 people marched against the trade deal in Hannover, Germany. The protests were organized by an “anti-free-trade alliance” made up of numerous groups, including trade unions, environmental activists and church groups. There has been massive opposition to the TTIP in Germany. In April 2015,thousands of Germans also took to the streets to oppose the TTIP.
In 2015, Reuters reported that, “a recent YouGov poll showed that 43 percent of Germans believe TTIP would be bad for the country, compared to 26 percent who see it as positive.” In a recent survey by Germany’s Bertelsmann Foundation, only 1 in 5 Germans said they were in favor of TTIP. Still, Merkel told the press that adopting the TTIP would help European economies grow. “We need to speed matters up now,” she said. Obama praised Merkel, calling her a “consistent and ready” leader.
Supporters of the TTIP believe the deal will make trade cheaper and easier, while boosting the economy. Opponents of the agreement have focused on dangers to environmental and consumer protections. During the press conference, Obama said it was necessary to enact the TTIP because 95% of markets are outside the United States. President Obama said he was confident the TTIP would be finished by the end of the year, and that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which covers 12 pacific nations, would “start moving forward” after the U.S. presidential election. The TTIP is the European version of the TPP. The TPP has faced waves of resistance over the last several years for the same corporate influence that has tainted negotiations of the TTIP.
Derrick is available for interviews.
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This BBSNews article originally appeared on MintPress News.