The TTIP has - due to its expected negative impact on democracy, civil society achievements in the areas of health, environment protection, and political and social fairness of the last decades, as well as for all entrepreneurial activities not taking place in the framework of big multinational companies - to be firmly rejected.

The information found on this page shall help understand the basics of the complex situation regarding the TTIP and is updated and where needed extended regularly.
For keynotes, presentations and more detailed information about the TTIP please get in contact with us here!

Key player: EU-Commission

From a legal point of view, trade agreements are international treaties normally signed by countries. In the Lisbon-treaty (effective as of 2009), the EU member states gave the EU the exclusive right to negotiate all trade related issues (including investment) on behalf of them. Negotiator for the EU is ONLY THE EU COMMISSION, chief negotiator is EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström (following Karel de Gucht). 93% of the "stakeholder meetings" in the pre-negotiations were held with 600 consultants of multinational companies and lobby groups; parliaments and the public were de facto not involved.

There have not been any big changes lately: New data from July 2013 - February 2014 are showing that still between 74 % and 85 % of the stakeholder meetings were held with industry representatives.

The European Council is involved in a permanent information and consultation process, the European Parliament is only informed (since July 2015 - despite the "transparency initiative" of the EU Commission - only in a reading room in Brussels) but not allowed to pass on any information.


Content & goal TTIP

The goal is the facilitation and augmentation of transatlantic trade. The main issue is the reduction of non-tariff trade barriers (i.e. all measures hindering trade) such as consumer protection, environment protection and social standards. Tariff trade barriers such as tolls and quotas have become rare these days anyway and are marginal regarding the TTIP. Trade is not only the stereotype we have in mind, i.e. a ship crossing the Atlantic Ocean loaded with stuff like liquid gas, but also involves food and chemicals labeling, services, movement of capital, investments, public procurement and service providers, patents, security standards, culture and entertainment products (radio,..) etc.

One objective is the compatibility of regulations (regulatory convergence) between the EU and the US, i.e. their assimilation and in fact reduction. Standstill clauses ensure that the liberalized markets stay open - "progress" is only possible in one direction: Towards further deregulation. The term "regulatory cooperation" stands for the institution of "consultation processes" before new legislative initiatives, i.e. multinationals are involved in legislative procedures at a very early stage (please find more info below at "living agreement").

"The standards will not be lowered"?

Statements such as "The European standards will of course not be lowered" are lead ad absurdum when checking how the studies are coming to the - even though tiny - positive effects on both sides of the Atlantic: A graphic on page 117 of the IFO study (available for download below) shows that (apart from reducing the tariff barriers in agriculture) it is apparently expected that the EU standards for meat and milk productsare reduced - or how else can increases in exports by 4000 (!) % (meat products) and 1000 (!) % (milk products) from the US to Germany be explained, if 20% of the milk and 90% of the beef in the US are produced with growth hormones?

IFO-Study: page 117


Pro & contra of TTIP

PRO TTIP:

  • Multinationals (P&G, Chevron, Monsanto, Amway, Exxon, etc.) and lobby associations (Transatlantic Business Dialogue (TABD), BusinessEurope (e.g. BP), US Chamber of Commerce, European Services Forum, Biotechnology Industry Organisation (e.g. Monsanto), etc.).
  • Unfortunately governments (who have created bilateral treaties before), the EU commission (DG Trade) and parliaments (who have ratified the treaties).
  • Scientists / experts in investment law and legal practitioners, law firms, arbitrators and litigation funders - the TTIP is regarded as a new area with great potential for highly paid experts. A study by Corporate Europe Observatory, Transnational Institute, CAMPACT and PowerShift (available as "Law Firms Report" for download below) explains the details.

CONTRA TTIP:

  • Members of Parliament: Meanwhile (EU-) parliamentarians are allowed to see the TTIP documents, but not to share them with anyone - up to now, most available info came from leaks, i.e. courageous people who did pass some info on..in Germany and the Netherlands there are already discussions in parliament.
  • Governmental and Non-Governmental Organisations: Bavarian Cities Council, Association of German dairy farmers, trade unions, environmental human rights organizations, the church, water associations.
  • International fora.
  • The civil society (on both sides of the Atlantic): 200 organisations have signed a common document
  • ECI: Stop-TTIP: 300 organisations
  • Media like the "Krone" in Austria and the "Zeit" and "Sueddeutsche" in Germany
  • Trade chains like "Spar" in Austria
  • More and more economists doing research, publishing studies, etc. - one of these most prominent TTIP-critics is Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel laureate in Economics.

TTIP: winners and losers

LOSERS: ALL OF US! Consumers on both sides of the Atlantic, developing countries, nature, small and medium sized companies,..

WINNERS: NEITHER "the economy" NOR the US, the EU or any other countries, but just a few multinationals and their major shareholders! Currently already more than 50% of the yearly worldwide capital gain go to only 0.01% of the world population (the other 50% go to 8-9%) - TTIP would make this gap even bigger! Jeronim Capaldo, author of the above mentioned TUFTS study, states that TTIP will cause a transfer from labor income to capital income.

TTIP forever!

As any subsequent contract modifications would need the OK of all signatory countries (provided that - what we should hope for - the EU is not allowed to decide alone), it is basically impossible to change or cancel the treaty once it has been ratified. Democratic control mechanisms, public protest and political campaigns would be useless, as the TTIP as international law would overrule EU law!


What can WE do now? A lot more than we think!


Alternatives to TTIP, CETA & TiSA

"Back to the Stone Age", back to a system without global rules is also NOT a sustainable alternative!

Transnational rules are absolutely necessary - but they have to be completely different from what the TTIP is about. We need fair house rules for "spaceship earth", secured by internationally recognized laws and regulations, paving the path into a sustainable, fair world for all!

THE GOOD NEWS:

Alternatives are already being developed! The Alliance for an ATM (Alternative Trade Mandate) - currently consisting of around 50 organizations from EU countries - is working on the Alternative Trade Mandate that starts from a different point of view: Principles and values are set to be realised; the needs of the people(s) and the challenges of the 21st century are focused on - and then the role of trade within this framework is analysed. Therefore the principles of a democratically controlled trade and investment policy that serves the people and saves the natural resources is the main idea of the project.


Responsible for the content: Ridehere-Ridenow, Association for Conscious Living in the Here and Now, ZVR: 437983246