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Monday, May 9, 2016

Leaked TTIP text confirms critics worst fears about the deal.

A 248-page leak of negotiating documents for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) confirms many of the fears of critics about the proposed trade deal.

The TTIP is a proposed trade agreement between the European Union and the United States. It aims to promote trade and multilateral economic growth between the U.S. and the EU.The U.S. considers the TTIP a companion agreement to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The material was leaked by Greenpeace, Netherlands.
Texts of negotiation documents have been kept under wraps until now. The leaked documents make up 13 of the 17 chapters of the agreement. They show that the TTIP will open the EU to US producers of genetically modified food and other products, that up to now are banned in the EU. This confirms fears that EU regulatory standards will be sabotaged by the deal.
The documents also show that the US is refusing to accept any reforms suggested by the EU to the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions in the agreement which would allow corporations to sue governments for lost profits. ISDS provisions are also found in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Treaties involving these provisions tend to have long minimum life spans, ranging up to 30 years.
John Hilary, Executive Director of War on Want, said of the information in the documents:"We have long warned that TTIP is a danger to democracy, food safety, jobs and public services. Now we see it is even worse than we feared. Today's leak shows the European Commission preparing to sell us down the river, doing deals behind closed doors that will change the face of European society for ever. It is simply unacceptable that a group of unelected officials should be allowed to contemplate such a thing without any public scrutiny."
He said that secrecy was the only way that the European Commission was able to hide the truth from the people of the EU. He called on EU governments to halt the talks immediately and disband the EU negotiating team. He also demanded a public inquiry to determine how such a damaging round of negotiations ever got as far as it did. A petition calling for an end to the TTIP negotiations attracted 3.4 million signatures.
A Sputnik article notes that "climate change" is not mentioned in the 248 leaked pages. Nevertheless, there are rules that would restrict what tools the EU and U.S. could use to deal with climate change according to the Sierra Club. The Sierra Club has more than 2.4 million members and supporters according to its website. Sierra Club's Responsible Trade Director Ilana Solomon said that the material showed that the U.S. position was to undermine environmental and climate protections and would grant broad rights to corporations to undermine climate policies. The text also includes rules that have been used to prohibit "buy local" policies that could create local clean energy jobs and support clean energy entrepreneurs. The Sierra Club pointed out there are at least 23 different U.S. states which have this type of policy.
France has already given notice that it would not sign the deal if it threatened French agriculture. Greenpeace said it released the documents to provide transparency and so that debate on the TTIP could be informed. The documents cover environmental issues, animal welfare, labor rights, and Internet privacy. Greenpeace claims that the TTIP involves a huge transfer of power from people to large corporations. A summary of what the TTIP is all about, reviews of different areas, with the ability to download the texts for that area can be found here.


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