TTIP | E-mail your MP NOW!

TTIP chalk

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Later today, MPs are going to debate TTIP, the dodgy trade deal between the EU and US. [1]

There is a rare opportunity for us to make sure our MPs speak out against the deal in front of the government Minister responsible. Together, we can make sure our MPs, and the government, know that we’re still against TTIP.

TTIP is a danger to our way of life; it could affect our NHS, our environment and our democracy. Under TTIP, corporations could get the right to sue us if they don’t like our laws. [2]

Thursday’s debate has been called by a cross-party group of MPs who think parliament should have more of a say on TTIP – even MPs think the deal is too secretive! [3] Officials and diplomats across Europe and the US are likely to be watching closely. Together, we can show them that when David Cameron says he wants to put ‘rocket boosters’ under TTIP, he doesn’t speak for us. [4] If we can persuade enough MPs to turn up and voice concerns about TTIP, it could really rock the boat.

Just this summer, 38 Degrees members and other campaigners persuaded over half of UK MEPs (our politicians in the European Parliament) to oppose TTIP. [5] But we need to make sure MPs feel the heat too – and that means making sure they know we want them to speak up on our behalf at every opportunity. When we come together as a force, we can take on enormous challenges: the stakes are high with TTIP, so we need to do everything we can to stop this dodgy deal.

Picture this: At the debate, a stream of MPs take to their feet to tell the government that they’ve been inundated with emails from their constituents and the message is loud and clear – we oppose TTIP. The government will be left in no doubt that we see the deal for what it is: a sinister corporate power grab and a threat to our democracy.

But this all hinges on our MPs hearing from us. They need to know why TTIP is bad, and that we expect them to show up and represent our views. It only takes two minutes, so will you email your MP now?

Will you email your MP asking them to speak out, on your behalf, against TTIP? There’s some suggested text that you can use, so it’ll only take 2 minutes to send the email:

Will you email your MP now? It only takes 2 minutes
Tell your MP: oppose TTIP at Thursday’s debate

Thanks for being involved,

Amy, Rachel, Megan, Blanche and the 38 Degrees team

NOTES:
[1] This last-minute debate has been called by Geraint Davies, Zac Goldsmith and Caroline Lucas. They want MPs to be able to properly scrutinise TTIP.

We know that the more people know about this dodgy deal, the more likely they are to turn against it, so more scrutiny of TTIP can only be a good thing for our campaign to scrap it.

The debate is a backbench business debate, which is a chance for some MPs to call for a debate on an issue they care about or want extra scrutiny on.

Parliament UK: How the Backbench Business Committee works:
http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/backbench-business-committee/how-the-backbench-business-committee-works/

[2] TTIP will affect every aspect of our lives, from the NHS to democracy. It:

  • Threatens our public services
  • Transfers powers to big businesses and away from us
  • Weakens our safety standards
  • Lets huge corporations sue governments over regulations they don’t like
  • Weakens our employment rights

38 Degrees: The campaign against TTIP:
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/pages/ttip_home

Information on TTIP:
https://home.38degrees.org.uk/2014/10/12/information-on-ttip/

The Independent: What is TTIP? And six reasons why the answer should scare you:
http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/what-is-ttip-and-six-reasons-why-the-answer-should-scare-you-9779688.html

[3] Geraint Davies MP (Labour), Zac Goldsmith MP (Conservative) and Caroline Lucas MP (Green) have put forward the debate together.

[4] The Independent: G20 summit: Cameron promises to fire ‘rocket boosters’ under controversial EU-US TTIP trade deal:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/g20-summit-cameron-promises-to-fire-rocket-boosters-under-controversial-eu-us-ttip-trade-deal-9864000.html

[5] TTIP: people power is working:
https://home.38degrees.org.uk/2015/06/12/ttip-people-power-is-working/

Here’s my e-mail to Ben Bradshaw MP:

Dear Ben Bradshaw,

I hear there is a debate on TTIP happening in Parliament on Thursday. Please can you assure me that you will attend and voice your opposition to this dangerous deal?

David Cameron says he wants to put ‘rocket boosters’ under TTIP, but he doesn’t speak for me, hundreds more of your constituents, or hundreds and thousands of people across the UK. I think this is an important issue and as my MP I’d like you to take part in this debate.

In its current form, TTIP threatens our democracy because it:
– allows multi-national corporations to sue governments over policies they don’t like;
– puts US firms’ profits ahead of our safety regulations gives corporations more power over our lives;
– threatens the NHS by “opening it up to competition”;
– prevent consideration of environmental and social
factors when awarding contracts; and
– undermine any local authority that makes a decision to take services back under public control

More information about TTIP, and the dangers it poses, here:
http://rosalux-europa.info/news/TTIP/
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/pages/ttip_home
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/11664750/What-is-TTIP-and-why-is-it-so-controversial.html

Yours sincerely,

Paul Bull
5 Cranbrook Road
EX25HG
paul4cowick@aol.com

TUC briefing on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (#TTIP)

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Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)

Introduction

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and USA has been in negotiation for two years.  While negotiators on both sides spoke hopefully of concluding talks quickly, it looks likely that talks will continue into 2016 and beyond as the US election adds delays.

Much of the content of TTIP has yet to be discussed.  TTIP will be affected by the final shape of the EU-Canada trade agreement (CETA), as this is being used as a template for negotiations, but the content of this agreement is also in flux.  CETA was finalised in 2013 but has yet to be ratified by the European or national parliaments.  It may come before the European Parliament as early as the first half of 2016.

TUC key concerns with TTIP

On 10 September 2014, TUC Congress passed a composite motion which stated that ‘while there may be economic benefits in reducing trade tariffs and reviewing regulation for certain industrial sectors, Congress believes that the primary purpose of TTIP is to extend corporate investor rights’ and thus adopted a position of ‘outright opposition’ to TTIP.[1]

1.  Investor-State Dispute Settlement

The TUC believes Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) is unacceptable in TTIP and any trade deal as it gives foreign investors the right to a special international court system to sue countries for compensation if they believe a policy would endanger their future profits. ISDS has been used on numerous occasions to overturn legitimate public policy and has had a ‘chilling effect’ on the introduction of new policies. This was the case in New Zealand where the government dropped plans to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes due to fears of litigation after Philip Morris sued Australia for similar legislation through the ISDS clause in the Hong Kong-Australia Bilateral Investment Treaty.

The provisions on Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) will be discussed at the next negotiating round in October.  The EU trade Commissioner stated in July[2]  that these discussions would advance the proposals she announced in March for a slightly reformed version of ISDS.[3]  The TUC is opposed to this reformed version of ISDS as we are opposed to all forms of special courts for foreign investors in trade agreements as they provide a privileged route for investors to seek compensation from governments if they believe a policy would endanger their future profits.[4]

Criticism of the ISDS provisions in CETA by the German, French and Greek governments as well as the Socialists and Democrats group[5] in the European Parliament, among others, raises the possibility that the Investment chapter of CETA, and perhaps other parts of the deal, will be reopened for negotiation in the near future.

2.  Public services

TTIP poses a threat to the National Health Service and the public sector that may be opened up to the privatisation through the ‘negative list’ approaches to service commitments taken in the deal.[6] This approach means that all services are open to further privatisation unless they are explicitly exempted.  In September 2014 the UK government confirmed that it has requested no explicit exemption for the NHS or public services in TTIP. This would mean that the privatisation in services such as health and education that have already been part-privatised would be locked in, preventing future governments from being able to bring these services back into public ownership.  Furthermore ISDS would mean that foreign investors, such as US health companies, would have the power to sue the UK government for renationalising parts of the public service, leading to a ‘chilling effect’ on public policy. This is supported by an LSE study commissioned by the government which concluded that there were little or no economic benefits and high political costs of including ISDS in TTIP.[7]

3.  Jobs and wages

Some of the tariff reductions proposed in TTIP could be good news for British exporters, such as the chemicals and automotive industries – and even textiles, Scotch Whisky and farming. But instead of seeking an agreement with those limited but uncontentious objectives, politicians and business on both sides of the Atlantic have over-reached, seeking to sweep away ’non tariff barriers’ that contain a range of health and safety, environmental and consumer protections. The TUC is unconvinced by studies produced by the UK government and EU Commission promising job gains and growth, particularly as other studies produced using different modelling suggest potential job losses and wage depreciation.[8]  We believe negotiators, governments and businesses need to engage with trade unions on the potential outcomes for different sectors. The European Commission must make clear how funds would be provided through the Globalisation Adjustment Fund to areas losing jobs or income due to TTIP.

4.  Labour standards

The TUC is concerned that TTIP may lead to a lowering of labour standards as the US refuses to ratify core ILO conventions, including those on freedom of association and collective bargaining and operates anti-union “right to work” policies in half of its states.  We are concerned that labour chapters in EU trade agreements to date (such as in the EU-Korea FTA and CETA) have not contained enforceable language such as sanctions for violations of labour standards and that workers would therefore not have a route through TTIP to enforce their rights.

5.  Transparency and openness

Only two trade unionists (ETUC and IndustriALL representatives on the EU’s Advisory group on TTIP) have access to the negotiating texts- and this is in a locked Reading Room where copies cannot be made. We understand the need to keep certain aspects of negotiating strategies confidential but the TUC believes a more open approach is needed overall, based on the following key principles:

·    whatever the negotiators show to employers, they should show to trade unionists;

·    whatever the EU negotiators have given to the US negotiators, they should share with the people they allegedly represent; and

·    the EU should operate on the assumption that documents should be public, unless there is a good reason to keep them secret – rather than the other way round.[9]

6. European Parliament report on TTIP

On July 2 the European Parliament adopted a report on TTIP which contained a number of positive proposals, calling on the Commission to:

·    ensure that there is ratification, implementation and enforcement of the eight fundamental International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions and the ILO’s Decent Work Agenda – and that labour and environmental standards are included in other areas of the agreement such as investment, trade in services, regulatory cooperation and public procurement;

·    include rules on corporate social responsibility based on OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and clearly structured dialogue with civil society;

·    ensure that national and local authorities retain the full right to introduce, adopt, maintain or repeal any measures with regards to the commissioning, organisation, funding and provision of public services irrespective of how the services are provided and funded;

·     a “positive list” for market access whereby services that are to be opened up to foreign companies are explicitly mentioned and new services are excluded – this would allow governments to retain policy space for services not explicitly included in negotiations.

However, the TUC did not support the report’s conclusions on Investor-State Dispute Settlement which stated the Commission should:

‘…replace the ISDS-system with a new system for resolving disputes between investors and states which is subject to democratic principles and scrutiny where potential cases are treated in a transparent manner by publicly appointed, independent professional judges in public hearings and which includes an appellate mechanism, where consistency of judicial decisions is ensured, the jurisdiction of courts of the EU and of the Member States is respected and where private interests cannot undermine public policy objectives.’

As stated above, although this criticism of the traditional version of ISDS may be useful for encouraging the Commission to reopen the investment chapter of CETA, the TUC does not support the proposal that a modified version of ISDS would be preferable to the traditional ISDS found in CETA.  We are opposed in principle to foreign investors having a special court system to sue for compensation if they claim their rights have been violated – no equivalent exists for consumers, workers or domestic investors.  The TUC believes there should be no ISDS or any variation of ISDS in CETA, TTIP or any trade agreement.


[7] J. Bonnitcha, J.Webb Yackee, L.Skovgaard Poulsen,’The Costs and Benefits of an EU-US Investment Protection Treaty’, seehttp://www.italaw.com/sites/default/files/archive/costs-and-benefits-of-an-eu-usa-investment-protection-treaty.pdf

[8]  Eg, J. Capaldo, Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership: European Disintegration, Unemployment and Instability,http://www.ase.tufts.edu/gdae/Pubs/wp/14-03CapaldoTTIP.pdf

[9] See TUC submission to European Ombudsman’s consultation on transparency and TTIP: http://www.tuc.org.uk/international-issues/tuc-submission-european-ombudsman-consultation-ttip-and-transparency

TUC TTIP briefing as PDF

Thanks from 38 Degrees for TTIP Day of Action

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Dear friends,

I’ve been out in my local area today to spread the word about a frightening trade deal our politicians are negotiating in secret right now: TTIP. The deal is like a wishlist for big corporations, but would be a disaster for ordinary people and our democracy.

This deal would:
– make it nearly impossible to reverse privatisation in our public services, such as our NHS or schools
– give big businesses the power to sue our government if it chose to make laws that would harm their profits, like raising the minimum wage or putting plain packaging on cigarettes.
– let thousands of currently banned nasty chemicals into our food and cosmetics
– put more bee-killing pesticides onto our fields

I don’t know about you, but I think this paints a terrifying picture for our future – and our children and grandchildren’s futures.

Fortunately, there’s a growing people-powered campaign to stop TTIP. More and more people across the UK and Europe are hearing about this dangerous deal, and getting behind the campaign to stop it.

If ordinary people shout loud enough in every town and city, our MPs and MEPs will have to listen. So will you join me and sign the petition against TTIP now?

https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/TTIP-petition-emailshare

Thanks,

PS. You can find out more here:
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/pages/ttip_more_information

I’ve received the following e-mail of thanks from 38 Degrees Campaign HQ.

Dear Paul,

Walking down high streets across the UK today, it would be hard to miss the army of 38 Degrees members – out spreading the word about TTIP. Together, we’re making this trade deal a toxic word and getting hundreds of thousands more people behind the campaign. If you were out, thank you for being a part of it!

The politicians and corporate lobbyists behind TTIP are bunkering down, trying to make this deal even more secret. [1] But 38 Degrees members are doing the opposite: we’re shining a light on this huge threat to our democracy, our NHS, and our environment (including our bees!). [2]

It’s simple: the bigger the opposition, the harder it is for the dodgy deal to get through. So as one more push, to get the message out to as many people as possible, can you share what we did today on Facebook – or forward the email below on to five friends?

Our pressure is working, one conversation at a time. Here’s the latest from today’s events across the UK:

“I got 3 pages of names in 3 hours! I went around to local shops and explained the deal in terms of how their business could be affected by bigger fish. People shopping/drinking there heard me and added their names!” Edward, from Leyton

“The best comment I received today was “Thankyou, you’ve really opened up my eyes to things. I had never heard of TTIP.” Linden, from Staffordshire

“It was heartwarming to know that people who live near me are as worried about this trade deal as me – and are keen to do something about it” Rachel, from Hexham

A year ago, 38 Degrees members took part in the first ever day of action to stop TTIP. [3] We’ve come so far – over two million people across Europe have signed the petition against the deal. And we’ve persuaded over half of our MEPs to take a stand against TTIP. [4] Together, we’re a force to be reckoned with. Let’s keep it up.

Thanks for being involved,

Bex, Amy, Rebecca and the 38 Degrees team

PS: Please can you take a few minutes to fill in this short survey about today’s action? It will help make future of days of action even better:
https://speakout.38degrees.org.uk/surveys/TTIP-day-of-action-feedback

PPS: Local papers across the UK are packed with stories about TTIP this weekend:
http://www.worcesternews.co.uk/news/13619254.38_Degrees_campaigners_to_descend_on_Stourbridge_on_Saturday_to_highlight__secret_trade_deal_/

http://www.burtonmail.co.uk/Day-action-campaign-reaches-towns/story-27652640-detail/story.html

http://www.mancunianmatters.co.uk/content/210874106-scores-take-manchester-streets-protest-secret-us-eu-trade-deal

And together, we’ve got the message out on radio and TV. Listen to Rebecca from the staff team speaking about TTIP on BBC 3 Counties yesterday (from 2:10):
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02ygjtd

You can also click here to follow-up with your local press about how the day of action went in your area. There’s a template email, and it’ll only take a few minutes:
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/ttip-day-press-release

NOTES:
[1] The Independent: TTIP controversy: Secret trade deal can only be read in secure ‘reading room’ in Brussels:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/ttip-controversy-secret-trade-deal-can-only-be-read-secure-in-reading-room-in-brussels-10456206.html

[2] The Telegraph: What is TTIP and why is it so controversial?:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/11664750/What-is-TTIP-and-why-is-it-so-controversial.html

[3] Full Fact: TTIP’s “secret courts”:
https://fullfact.org/europe/ttip_secret_courts-46491

[4] The Independent: British sovereignty ‘at risk’ from EU-US trade deal: UK in danger of surrendering judicial independence to multinational corporations, warn activists:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/british-sovereignty-at-risk-from-euus-trade-deal-uk-in-danger-of-surrendering-judicial-independence-to-multinational-corporations-warn-activists-9057318.html

[5] 38 Degrees: TTIP Day of Action:
https://home.38degrees.org.uk/2015/08/22/ttip-day-of-action-3/

[6] 38 Degrees blog: TTIP day of action tomorrow!:
https://home.38degrees.org.uk/2014/10/10/ttip-october-day-of-action-faqs/

[7] 38 Degrees blog: MEPs who voted for what?
https://home.38degrees.org.uk/2015/07/08/ttip-who-voted-for-what/

TTIP | Exeter takes to the streets to expose secret trade deal

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Media release | Exeter takes to the streets to expose secret trade deal
Embargo: for immediate release

Campaigners from Exeter will be taking to the streets this Saturday to raise awareness of a secretive deal with the USA that is set to give more power to big corporations.

The day of action in Exeter is part of a nationwide effort coordinated by independent campaign group 38 Degrees. It will see local campaigners talk to hundreds of people about the dangers of this deal, and how it might affect their lives if it isn’t stopped.

Campaigners say the deal could force NHS trusts across the country to open up to American private healthcare providers, and could allow big businesses to sue the government if British laws dent their profits.

Volunteers will be assembling in Bedford Street in Exeter at 11am on Saturday 22nd August, joining thousands of other people who are also taking action across the UK. They’re calling on people to sign the petition against TTIP, which will be delivered to politicians in October.

Paul, a 38 Degrees member from Exeter said: “This secret deal gives too much control to powerful multi-national corporations at the expense of local enterprise.

“I am pleased that Exeter City Council was one of the first local authorities to speak out against the negotiations and since December 2014 has been a TTIP-free zone.

“But it’s not enough. Even if local services are exempt, there is a big threat to NHS services.

“Working with Keep Our NHS Public, campaigners recently delivered a 6000 signature petition to save our city-centre Walk-In Centre on Sidwell Street.

“Yet under TTIP provisions, the facility could be sold off in a privatisation deal. And once sold off, it would be well nigh impossible to bring it back under public ownership

“That’s not the NHS I want, and that’s why I’m against this awful trade deal.”

Amy Lockwood, campaigner at 38 Degrees said: “This Saturday, 38 Degrees members Exeter will be pushing TTIP, the dangerous trade deal, out of secret negotiating rooms and into the public spotlight.

“People in Exeter have a right to know that this dodgy deal is being hashed out behind their backs.

“From the NHS, to schools, to the food on our tables, TTIP could tear up the public services and protections that people fought hard for.

“Saturday’s day of action is all about the people of [area] sending a message to corporate lobbyists: we won’t sit back while you re-write the rules of democracy.”

The EU-wide petition against TTIP has almost reached 2.5 million signatures. It can be found at http://www.38degrees.org.uk/ttip

ENDS

CONTACT:

Paul Bull
paul4cowick@aol.com

Notes to editors

[1] 38 Degrees is one of the UK’s biggest campaigning communities, with over 3 million members. 38 Degrees brings you together with other people to take action on the issues that matter to you and bring about real change in the UK.

[2] TTIP – the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – is currently being negotiated between the US and the EU. If it goes through without any changes, it’ll make privatisation of services like the NHS and National Rail irreversible. It’ll also allow big corporations to sue our government if they make changes to the law which affect businesses’ profits – like raising the minimum wage.

[3] 38 Degrees: Campaign against TTIP website:
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/pages/ttip_home

[4] 38 Degrees: TTIP Briefing Document
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/page/-/TTIPBriefingDoc.pdf

[5] Daily Telegraph: What is TTIP and why is it so controversial [11 June 2015]
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/11664750/What-is-TTIP-and-why-is-it-so-controversial.html

[6] Friends of the Earth: What is TTIP? And why worry about it?
https://www.foe.co.uk/page/what-ttip-why-worry-about-it

TTIP 1

TTIP | My response to Dom Morris

I’ve recently received a reply from the Tory candidate for Exeter, outlining his views on TTIP.

I decided to put my thoughts to him:

Sent: Tue, 3 Mar 2015 11:35
Subject: Re: TTIP

Dear Mr Morris

Thank you for your response the 30 Degree e-mail of 14/01/15 you were copied into ahead of the recent debate about TTIP in the House of Commons on 15/01/15

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmhansrd/cm150115/debtext/150115-0003.htm#15011570000001

I note the points you make about where you stand regarding the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and I would like to challenge some of the points you make.

For me, it find it hard to decide whether I am for TTIP or against, as I haven’t seen a text on which to judge the possible benefits. So that fills me with fears – that may or may not be realised.
The way the treaty is being negotiated has been a cause for concern – there has been an incredible amount of secrecy surrounding the negotiations..so far, most of the process of negotiation has been secretative and undemocratic.

Critics have said that transnational corporations had early opportunities to lobby the European Commission about the treaty but the same opportunities have not been extended to trades unions or civil society groups. Of the 560 meetings that the Commission’s Directorate-General for Trade held in preparation for negotiations, 520 were with business lobbyists and only 26 were with public interest groups.

So, for the most part these negotiations are being conducted exclusively by high-level civil servants. There is no political input.

Already there have been 7 rounds of negotiation…the last one concluded on 03 October 2014.

It was only after the conclusion of this round  of negotiations (on  09 Oct 2014) that the Council of the European Union finally declassified the previously restricted negotiating mandate.

It took a year of campaigning to get even this small concession to transparency.

So we now know how they are negotiating – but not on what the terms are
“TTIP will lower trade barriers, boost growth and create more jobs within Britain.”

Most Free Trade Agreements are about reducing and removing tariffs, but that’s not the case with T-TIP.

Currently tariffs between the EU and the US are already low – they are close to zero, averaging around 3%. The major exceptions include running shoes and fancy chocolate!

So, unlike classic free-trade arrangements, TTIP focuses on regulatory and other non-tariff barriers – NBTs.

So my fear is that TTIP could seriously weaken the safety standards we rely on, and weaken the values of fairness and democracy we cherish.

As it stands, TTIP seems to be a bi-lateral trade agreement based around reducing the regulatory barriers to trade for big business – affecting things like food safety law, environmental legislation, banking regulations and the sovereign powers of individual nations.

In the words of John Hilary, Executive Director of War on Want, “T-TIP is correctly understood as a negotiation between two competing trading partners, but as an assault on European and US societies by transnational corporation seeking to remove regulatory barriers to their activities on both sides of the Atlantic.” (see John Hilary The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – a charter for deregulationRosa Luxenburg Stiftung, Brussels Office/War on Want

It appears is that this trade deal will simply result in a race to the bottom on labour, social, environmental, and heath & safety standards.

TTIP could also boost the UK economy by up to £100 billion over a ten year period; this will help create jobs and security for British taxpayers. The car industry alone could benefit to the tune of 50,000 new jobs.”

You seem convinced of the argument put forward by it’s proponents – that TTIP will stimulate growth in both Europe and in the US., but the projections given by the EU Commission in relation to jobs and growth are not universally accepted; some commentators express a degree of caution, others outright scepticism.

I’ve been reading research by the Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts Univerity
(Jeronim Capaldo, European Disintegration, Unemployment and Instability GDAE Working Paper 14-03 October 2014)
http://ase.tufts.edu/gdae/policy_research/ttip_simulations.html

They seem to think that  the projections endorsed by the European Commission point to positive, although negligible, gains in terms of GDP and personal incomes. In a paradox, these projections also show that any gains in Trans-Atlantic trade would happen at the expense of intra-EU trade reversing the process of European economic integration.

In there paper, Tufts Univeristy  assess the effects of TTIP using the United Nations Global Policy Model, which incorporates more sensible assumptions on macroeconomic adjustment, employment dynamics, and global trade rather than the Computable General Equilibrium model that has proven inadequate as a tool for trade policy analysis.

This has led Tufts to project that TTIP will lead to a contraction of GDP, personal incomes and employment. We also project an increase in financial instability and a continuing downward trend in the labor share of GDP.

Evaluated with the United Nations model, TTIP appears to favor economic dis-integration, rather than integration, in Europe. At a minimum, this shows that official studies do not offer a solid basis for an informed decision on TTIP.

Dean Baker, of the Center for Economic and Policy Researchnoted that the projected GDP increases in the study produced for the European Commission would not materialise in full until 2027, and that they reflected a best-case scenario. In a less ambitious, and “presumably more realistic” scenario, the GDP gain for the US by 2027 would be “roughly equal to a normal month’s growth” and thus in Mr Baker’s view, “too small to notice”.

TTIP does not require Britain to open its NHS to private providers…”

This is the one element of TTIP that has caused most debate. If the NHS is safe,why refuse to specifically exclude it from all negotiations?

Just this weekend, BBC published the contents of a leaked document
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/26_02_2015_ttip.pdf
which includes a Schedule of specific commitment s and reservations.

On health, the document states: “The EU reserves the right to adopt or maintain any measure with regard to the provision of all health services which receive public funding or State support in any form”.

The UK trade minister, Lord Livingston, said last week that this text ensured “publicly funded health services are excluded”.

But Unite The Union’s Scottish regional secretary, Pat Rafferty said: “Last week Lord Livingston tried to pull the wool over the eyes of the Scottish people.

“Now this leaked document has confirmed Unite’s expert legal advice, that NHS services in Scotland and the rest of the UK do fall within the scope of the TTIP.

I think this issue has to be put beyond any doubt. If everyone is so  so confident that the NHS is protected, why don’t they specifically add it to the list of exclusions?
…and will not affect how public services are paid for.

The threat about TTIP has never been about “how public servces are paid forr” – but about how they are procured.

The Commission’s negotiating mandate includes provisions that T-TIP will increase mutual access to government procurement markets “at all administrative levels…in the fields of public utilities…and ensuring treatment no less favourable than that accorded to locally established suppliers”

Local government procurement would therefore be included.

As a result, a  Commons Library research paper notes:

There are concerns that [T-TIP]…could constrain the power of national governments to decide how publics services are provided”.

http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/research/briefing-papers/SN06688/the-transatlantic-trade-and-investment-partnership-ttip

That’s the public services that we, Exeter City Council, deliver for our residents and citizens.

A motion was debated in the European Parliament on 15 May 2013 called for the Commission to explicitly exclude from the negotiating mandate access to public services:

  1. Calls on the Council to explicitly exclude from the negotiating mandate market access to public services or any regulatory cooperation threatening the horizontal exceptions for public utilities or directly or indirectly increasing pressure for liberalisation of the public‑service sector;

However, this motion (and many others alongside) was defeated.

The European Commission has claimed that public services will be kept out of T-TIP by virtue of an exclusion of services “supplied in the exercise of governmental authority” as defined in the General Agreement on Trade in Services [GATS], which comes under the World Trade Organisation [WTO].

But the WTO definition of what would qualify under this exemption is narrow – “only on a non-commercial basis and not in competition with other suppliers”
“The rules on … Investor State Dispute Settlement will preserve the right for the government to regulate in the public interests”

Really?

I have serious concerns over the inclusion of an Investor-State Dispute Settlement [ISDS] mechanism within T-TIP.

It is imperative to protect the right of democratically elected governments to legislate for legitimate public policy objective.

ISDS allows for multi-national companies to challenge this right.

Ultimately, ISDS remains a system based on PRIVATE justice rather than democratic jurisdiction.

It would effectively create a two-tier legal system, in which different sets of rules would apply to multinationals and small firms.

ISDS is unnecessary as investor protection is already provided for in our mature legal system.

And ISDS could be used as an instrument to coerce the EU or national governments, politically if not legally.

ISDS WILL challenge the right of governments to govern and leave them free to make the best laws for their citizens

I can see no reasonable justification to include ISDS in the T-TIP agreement.

“Both the public and Parliament will have the opportunity to further scrutinise the proposals as the negotiations carry on”

To date, national governments and MEPs from the European Parliament’s trade committee have only limited access to documents.

As I understand it, once negotiations are completed, the deal will be presented to the Council and the European Parliament, both of which must agree the outcome, which is then subject to signature and formal ratification. The deal has also to be separately ratified by the national parliaments of each of the EU Member States before it formally enters into force.

In the UK this will be done through secondary legislation – a draft Order in Council laid in Parliament and it has to approved by both the Commons and the Lords under the affirmative procedure, and then by the Privy Council. However, under ‘provisional application’ procedures, if member states agree to it via the Council, parts of the agreement can enter into force before it is ratified by national parliaments.

So, once the treaty is signed by negotiators, the UK parliament, like other EU member states, will only be able to vote to accept or reject the treaty as a whole: they will not be able to amend it in any way.

I hope that many of my fears outlined above will be dispelled as negotiations progress, but to date nothing I had read – nor anything contained within your comments – gives rise to any optimism.

Yours sincerely

Paul Bull

TTIP | A response from Dom Morris

Like many people opposed to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, back in early January [at the time of a debate in the Commons] I used a 38 Degrees campaign to contact my MP and declared candidates.

Nearly two months later I’ve received a response from the Troy candidate for Exeter.

From: Dom Morris < correspondence.dommorris@gmail.com>
Date: 2 March 2015 11:06:55 GMT

Subject: TTIP

Dear Exeter Resident,

I would like to lay out where I stand regarding the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). It is important to promote trade as a means of boosting growth and provide security to British taxpayers. TTIP will lower trade barriers, boost growth and create more jobs within Britain.

Removing trade barriers in a wide range of economic sectors will make it easier for the EU and the US to trade goods and services which will boost British businesses which that sell their goods overseas. TTIP could also boost the UK economy by up to £100 billion over a ten year period; this will help create jobs and security for British taxpayers. The car industry alone could benefit to the tune of 50,000 new jobs.

TTIP does not require Britain to open its NHS to private providers and will not affect how public services are paid for. Decisions in NHS care will remain in the hands of local doctors, who will continue to act in the best interest of patients.  TTIP will help patients get the best treatments as it will allow the NHS to access leading US medical technologies faster.

There is both strong public and Parliamentary interest in TTIP.  Accordingly Parliament has been engaged in the scrutiny of TTIP, with two debates and discussion in Select Committees. Both the public and Parliament will have the opportunity to further scrutinise the proposals as the negotiations carry on. The rules on investment protection and Investor State Dispute Settlement will preserve the right for the government to regulate in the public interests.

Therefore I support further negotiations regarding TTIP due to its benefits to hardworking British taxpayers.  

Yours sincerely,

Dom Morris.
Conservative Candidate For Exeter

That waas all well and good – the trouble that this reply was cc’d (NOT bcc’d) to several others who had similarly contact Dom Morris.

I made my displeasure known to Mr Morris:

Dear Conservative Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Exeter.

Can I say how surprised to receive such an impersonal reply to the 38 e-mail to Ben Bradshaw MP about TTIP that you we copied into.

But even more surprising is that you chose to cc this to 24 other people who contacted you.

The normal process is to blind copy as the straight forward cc method you have used could be construed as a serious breach of the Data Protection Act 1998 [DPA] whereby Data controllers are obliged to handle personal data in accordance with the eight data-protection principles set out in schedule 1 to the DPA unless a specific exemption applies. 

I look forward to receiving your apology

Yours sincerely

Paul Bull

And the reply from the candidate (well an intern):

Dear Paul,

I am sorry for accidentally copying the details and have apologised to everyone concerned.

It was an I.T. mistake as my hand literally slipped on the keyboard whilst sending Dom’s TTIP responses.

Yours sincerely,

Alexander Evans.
Campaign Officer.

TTIP | A response from Ben Bradshaw MP

In the lead-up to the Backbench debate on TTIP, I contacted Ben Bradshaw MP and declared candidates about their views.

Here’s Ben’s response:

Dear Paul,

Thanks for contacting me about the backbench debate on TTIP initiated by my Labour colleague, Geraint Davies, in Parliament recently.

Unfortunately, I was not able to attend it myself, but a number of my Labour colleagues did and spoke in support of Geraint’s motion.

Being a backbench debate, the motion was not voted on and the debate has no legislative or policy effect, but was a useful opportunity for our concerns about TTIP to beaired.

The Labour Party supports trade agreements, which can bring significant benefits through boosting trade and growth, securing and creating jobs, bringing down costs and extending choice for consumers, but we have some serious concerns about elements of these proposals as they stand that need to be addressed.

TTIP would be an important trade agreement between the US, the world’s largest economy and the EU, the world’s largest single market and has the potential to bring significant benefits. Europe and the United States are the UKs’ most important markets. That’s why we support the principles behind these negotiations and recognise that more and better trade is good for the UK.

Reducing barriers could, for example, help our automotive and aerospace industries export more to the US, where there are regulations inhibiting this and these negotiations could remove.

However, we have four main areas of concern:

Public services:
We share the concerns about the impact that TTIP could have on public services encouraging commercialisation, particularly in the NHS.

Labour believes that the NHS and all public services need to be more, not less, integrated. That is why we believe that the NHS should be exempt from the agreement. Other countries have sought to exempt areas from the agreement but the UK Government hasn’t.

Labour will continue to press for the necessary exemption.

Investor State Dispute Resolution (ISDS):
This is a dispute mechanism, commonly used in trade agreements and bilateral investment treaties.

It allows investors to take proceedings against a government that is party to that trade agreement. If the government is found to be in breach of the obligations, the investor can receive redress. There is a major concern that the ISDS provisions could hinder our plans to reverse the privatisation of the NHS as it could result in those companies seeking compensation for loss of potential earnings.

We believe that it is a right of governments to be able to legislate in the public interest and this should be protected effectively in any dispute resolution mechanisms. The European Commission has instigated several changes which have improved the transparency of the agreement, however it can and must go further. That is why Labour has been calling for far greater transparency around an exclusion for legislation in the public interest, like the NHS.

Standards:
The benefits of any treaty must filter down to employees and consumers. Treaties can cement and even increase labour, consumer, environmental and safety standards. Concerns have been raised that TTIP could reduce standards, even though the principle behind the treaty is to keep or raise standards, rather than reduce them. Labour will only support an agreement that avoids a race to the bottom and promotes decent jobs and growth and safeguards standards.

Non-inclusion of the US States:
A significant stumbling block has been raised that the US states are not covered by the agreement and therefore procurement will not opened up. This mean we could be at a disadvantage as our markets are opened up but not to the same extent in the US.

This is important because significant procurement spend in the US is at the State level.

As I’m sure you realise, the EU is responsible for international trade negotiations. A number of other EU countries and Labour’s sister parties in other EU countries share our concerns. These need to be reflected to secure any agreement and will need to be taken on board by the incoming new EU trade Commissioner.

The negotiations on TTIP are now expected to last into next year, so we have an opportunity, if a Labour Government is elected in May, to ensure that the concerns we have, which are being ignored by the current Government, are taken on board.

With very best wishes,

Ben Bradshaw MP