This week’s vote on TTIP

The debate about a possible future Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership continues, with a lot of attention focusing on an upcoming parliamentary vote this Wednesday 10 June.

As a Labour MEP, I am fully opposed to the so-called ‘investor-state dispute settlement’ scheme (ISDS), and will vote accordingly on 10 June.

This is not yet a vote for or against TTIP itself. Instead, the point of the vote on Wednesday is to communicate a clear view from the European Parliament to EU negotiators on what is, and is not, acceptable to MEPs in the TTIP negotiations. The negotiations themselves are being conducted by the European Commission under instruction from national governments, including Britain, and are likely not to be completed for several years. But Wednesday’s vote in Parliament is still important. When the negotiations are complete, the final text will be submitted to MEPs for approval. By making it clear now what we will and will not accept, we can shape the negotiations over the coming years.

Last week, Parliament’s trade committee prepared the draft resolution that will be put to the whole European Parliament on 10 June. Labour MEPs supported this draft. It includes specific protections for the NHS and public services, and binding labour and environmental safeguards. It also clearly states that we will not accept any lowering of our food standards.

On ISDS, the draft states that we trust national courts in the case of investor protection disputes, as opposed to special ISDS tribunals. This is a step in the right direction, but Labour MEPs want the resolution to be even stronger, to make it absolutely clear that we refuse to allow ISDS in TTIP.

So we have tabled amendments that explicitly rule out ISDS from any trade deal with the US, and we are hopeful of achieving a majority to support those amendments.

For more information on TTIP, ISDS and what we are trying to achieve, see:

We are not opposed to the principle of a trade agreement – if it is shorn of the unacceptable elements that have been suggested, and if it is an equal and fair agreement providing benefits to both sides. However, we are some way from that!

 

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7 Comments

  1. Am I alone in being misled by Initials? – probably not, but also as guilty as anyone when dealing with the familiar – FIFA for example. The murky depths of internationalism in trade had not previously been revealed to me as regards ISDS, which at first glance I rushed past, thinking it another comment on the intractable situation in Syria/Iraq

  2. Is is amazing that the current problems raised by the growing externalization of US law is not even mentioned in the TTIP debate. JGG

  3. Thank you for the TTIP clarification – ISDS has been a particularly difficult thing for me (and most people??) to clarify and begin to understand, because it just seemed to boil down to be an attempt at a blanket ruling over any sovereign state and its laws….. I have sent emails etc, mainly through 38 degrees and similar websites/groups but, having been on your site, to say it clearly, ‘Investor State Dispute Settlement’ needs to be put in its place!! And I now quote from it so that my contacts may share in this information:

    ‘Last week, Parliament’s trade committee prepared the draft resolution that will be put to the whole European Parliament on 10 June. Labour MEPs supported this draft. It includes specific protections for the NHS and public services, and binding labour and environmental safeguards. It also clearly states that we will not accept any lowering of our food standards.

    On ISDS, the draft states that we trust national courts in the case of investor protection disputes, as opposed to special ISDS tribunals. This is a step in the right direction, but Labour MEPs want the resolution to be even stronger, to make it absolutely clear that we refuse to allow ISDS in TTIP.’

    OK – so, public services can’t be pulled up before some sort of secret court…..and even the government could not be ??’sued”?? by some global financial entity…..
    We need to get behind the Labour MEPs on this one…..

  4. This article just does not suggest to me that labour will do whatever it takes to oppose the growing power of coorporations v governments. It sounds as though there will be an eventual roll over and acceptance that they couldn’t have done anything about TTIP anyway. If it is going to take a couple of years to pass hit the hard ground now and stay there.

  5. the problem in my opinion is the fact that once you have a strong TTIP, you wont be able to control the finacial clout that these large corperates / members will have, and if they want to introduce ISDS at a later date, they will do it on the quiet. We’ve already seen how contracts have been given to companies that ministers / MPs have interests in, be it as ‘advisors’ or major share holders etc. Major investment in this country is fine, but losing control of how it’s run, in any form is detrimental to the status quo and the stability of the country.

  6. An American tobacco company is currently claiming enormous compensation under TTIP rules from the Australian Government because it claims that the Government’s plain packages on cigarettes will adversely affect future company profits. A private company should not be able to prevent national policy by a democratically elected government

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