The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a proposed trade agreement between the EU and US being negotiated, which aims to create a free trade zone. That would be the most important free trade deal ever achieved, as it would include half of the world’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and one third of all commercial trades.
So, this TTIP thing is kind of a big deal. But we don’t hear about it much, do we? If it is as important as we say, it should make the news, unless some individuals do not want you to know about it. Indeed, the talks about TTIP have mostly been conducted in secret, behind the doors of big international hotels. The documents about the negotiations can’t be read either, only in ultra-secured lecture rooms in Brussels or some American embassies.
As press and citizens cannot access the contents of the deal, we don’t know much about the treaty, but it is intended to grow big companies’ power, and reduce government’s’ control. Its goal is to “remove regulatory barriers”. The problem is that these “barriers” are actually environmental regulations, food safety rules, regulations on the use of toxic chemicals… Yes, that means that any product from the United States may be imported in Europe, even if it does not respect the rules of the country in which it is imported..
It could lead to a lot more privatization in sectors such as water, health, education and transport, providing even more power to corporations, and still at the expense of citizens.
In theory, TTIP will allow private investors to sue governments if their decisions make the profits drop. Yes, crazy.
Countries where corporations can do whatever they want and governments (so, people) do not have a say, does not bode well for individuals liberties and democracy…
Are we doomed yet ?
Although the TTIP is likely to be ratified, due to huge backing by lobbies and corporations, there is still hope : France recently threatened to stop the negotiations. Matthias Fekl, the French minister of state for foreign trade, criticized the opacity in the talks and the absence of any interesting offer for European countries. France does not really have the power to stop everything, but its opinion weighs enough to influence the decision of the European commission.
A petition recently gathered 3.2 million of signature from European citizens, showing that TTIP is strongly disagreed with among citizens.
But it still is a topic on which people are not informed enough. We must do our best to spread the word and have our say.