One of the world's best-kept-secret set of trade agreements is gradually filtering its way into the public awareness.
The ''Transatlantic Trade and Partnership' (TTIP) between the US and the EU is being put in place to reduce regulatory barriers to trade, especially for big business.
'Big' business, of course, thrives on cheap food, lax safety, cheap labour, poorly controlled banking practice, and privatisation of essential services such as health, education and water. TTIP's agenda of “regulatory convergence” will mean that the lowest regulatory standards on either side of the pond will be adopted. Europe will find its doors open to GM foods and currently illegal pesticides, and will find its 'proof of safety' policies replaced with US-style 'proof of harm', all adding up to reduced food- and environmental-controls.
Besides this “inherent assault on democracy” and society, TTIP will take precedence over the sovereign power of governments. Most frightening is that big businesses will be able to sue governments for policies which reduce their profits. Since there isn't a court to judge such issues, the matter will go before “arbitration tribunals” made up of corporate lawyers described by War on Want as “little more than kangaroo courts” with “a vested interest in ruling in favour of big business”.
The conspiracy of silence working to make TTIP a reality before anyone notices what's happening must be broken. Tell everyone you know about it any way you can.
There are many aspects of TTIP which will impact on our health, well-being and livelihoods besides the threat of GM foods and inferior US-style agri-regulation. Try putting “TTIP petitions” into a search engine and see how many complaints on TTIP you can add your voice to, for example http://action.peoplesnhs.org/eu-ttip-debate
- Lee Williams, What is TTIP and six reasons why the answer should scare you, Independent, 7.10.14