The government is about to sign up to a treaty which will would allow companies like Sports Direct (just a random example) to sue a future government for increasing the minimum wage, if introducing such a policy damaged corporate profits.
The treaty’s called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – And it’s seems to be primarily about shafting the 300 or so million citizens of European countries so that Transnational Corporations can make even more profit.
Having clicked around a few web sites which try to summarise what the TTIP is, I think I’ve done a better job below – down to just FIVE KEY POINTS… (Handily for anyone studying Global Development, this also reads like a ‘what is neoliberalism’ check llist).
1. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a free trade treaty currently being negotiated – in secret – between the European Union and the USA.
2. The main goal of TTIP is to remove regulatory ‘barriers’ which restrict the potential profits to be made by transnational corporations on both sides of the Atlantic.
3. These ‘barriers’ are basically social and environmental protections currently enforced through the laws of various nation states within Europe and include the following:
- labour rights (e.g. Minimum wages, holiday pay, public sector pensions)
- food safety rules (including restrictions on GMOs),
- regulations on the use of toxic chemicals
- digital privacy laws
- new banking safeguards introduced to prevent a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis.
4. TTIP also seeks to create new markets by opening up public services to competition from transnational corporations, threatening to introduce a further wave of privatizations in key sectors, health and education.
5. Most worrying of all, TTIP seeks to grant foreign investors a new right to sue sovereign governments in front of ad hoc arbitration tribunals for loss of profits resulting from public policy decisions.
So here we go again – a further wave of neoliberalisation, given that it looks like many Nation States in Europe are about to agree to a set of international rules which put Corporate profits before the well-being of their citizens.
Of course you’ve probably never heard of this treaty, it’s firmly off the news agenda, even though, right now, your democratic rights are being undermined and this treaty will almost certainly mean that you are worse off in the future in terms of your labour rights, environmental protection, and quality of public services.
If you want to sign a petition to get Vince Cable to fix or scrap the deal then click here
This post is mainly summarised from this nice document – TTIP – A Charter for Deregulation, an Attack on Jobs and an End to Democracy