Saturday, 30 August 2014

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and the Transition Town movement

You might have noticed a stall in the Market Square in Sidmouth today - where signatures were being gathered for a petition:
38 Degrees | Campaign to fix or scrap TTIP

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership(TTIP) also known as the Transatlantic Free Trade Area(TAFTA) is a proposed free trade agreement between theEuropean Union and the United States. Proponents say the agreement would result in multilateral economic growth,[1] while critics say it would increase corporate power and make it more difficult for governments to regulate markets for public benefit.[2] The U.S. government considers the TTIP a companion agreement to the Trans-Pacific Partnership.[3] After a proposed draft was leaked, in March 2014 the European Commission launched a public consultation on a limited set of clauses.
The TTIP free trade agreement could be finalised by the end of 2014.[4][5]
Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

What is the Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership? - YouTube

And today there were demonstrations across the country:
Anti-TTIP protests take place across the UK - News - News - Voice of Russia UK,
Stone campaign against Transatlantic Trade and Industry Partnership which could affect NHS services | Staff Newsletter

There are a lot of  misgivings over the proposed agreement when it comes to  areas such as GM food and investment in energy and health services...

In the latest news stories:
TTIP will sacrifice food safety for faster trade, warn NGOs | EurActiv
TTIP: UK Government Not Trusted to Protect NHS from American Investors
Secret trade deal could be battering ram for big business to smash open and deregulate markets - Jason Beattie - Mirror Online
Now It's Jamie Oliver Arguing Against The EU/US Trade Deal

And with several organisations very much against the agreement:
Home - TTIP
Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA)
noTTIP | No corporate takeover of democracy

A lecture from Noam Chomsky at Durham University earlier this year made the arguments against very clear:

Major current huge trade agreements that are now being negotiated: Trans-Pacific and Trans-Atlantic, are secret, but not completely. They are not secret to hundreds of corporate lawyers and lobbyists who are rating the detailed regulations. You can guess what they are and why they are secret.

Surviving the 21st Century - YouTube

But there are clear benefits as stated by its proponents:

The stated aim of TTIP is to expand trade and investment across the Atlantic, increase employment and competitiveness, as well as enable a common approach to rules for global trade, which third countries could also adopt. Another goal is to strengthen overall EU-US relations. The EU-US trade and investment relation­ship is considered the largest and most important in the world. The two economies accounted for nearly half of global gross domestic product (GDP) and 30% of world trade in 2012; with US-EU trade flows in goodstotalling €497 billion, and in services €315 billion. Foreign direct investment (FDI) is even greater, with total FDI stocks of €3.2 trillion in each other’s’ economies. The transatlantic economy sustains about 15 million jobs.
Nevertheless, TTIP’s proponents claim there is untapped potential in the relationship. The EC argues that significant gains would arise from further liberalising transatlantic trade. An EC-commissioned study (a new analysis is foreseen for end-2014) asserts a comprehensive and ambitious TTIP would bring overall annual GDP gains of 0.5% for the EU (€119 billion) and 0.4% (€95 billion) for the US, once fully implemented (2027). That is, an extra €545/EU household/year. Reducing non-tariff barriers (NTBs) and further liberalising services and public procurement would constitute around 80% of the benefits. TTIP would positively affect global GDP (€100 billion) and labour markets. Other studies also point to major benefits for income and jobs in the EU and US, but also to those countries which stand to lose from TTIP. TTIP would also create opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises (e.g. through trade facilitation).
Towards an EU-US trade and investment deal | European Parliamentary Research Service

With organisations on both sides of the Pond behind it:
TTIP Action
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership

Here is an analysis from Deutche Welle:
TTIP - Debate: European Goals and Fears | All media content | DW.DE | 19.08.2014
'Türkiye TTIP anlaşmasının içinde olmalı'

When it comes to the Transition Town movement, however, it is clear where the sympathies lie:
international trade | Transition Network
TTIP: the biggest threat to democracy in a generation? | Transition Kentish Town
Day of Action against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) | A Positive Response to Resource Depletion, Economic Collapse and Climate Change.
The EU again. | Transition Tynedale
Transition Town Ingolstadt - Home
Aktuelles & Termine transitiontown erfurt - Transitiontown Initiative Erfurt
TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment "Partnership": Aushöhlung der Demokratie durch Konzerne, noch mehr Globalisierung statt mehr Regionalisierung) - Transition Initiativen in D/A/CH
etc, etc...

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