TTIP update

A long-awaited vote on TTIP in the European Parliament, unfortunately postponed from last month, has been rescheduled for this Wednesday.

Just to reiterate the key points:

  • A final draft of TTIP is not imminent — it is most probably years away.
  • When the draft is completed, MEPs will have the power to accept or reject it.
  • Depending on the content, it may also need to be agreed individually by every EU country.
  • For now, we are not voting on TTIP. We are voting on what message we want to send to the negotiators about what we will and will not accept in a final version of TTIP.
  • Our draft report currently includes strong safeguards for NHS, public services, workers, food standards and environmental standards. Conservative MEPs have submitted an amendment to try and weaken these safeguards, and we will be voting against that amendment. If this amendment passes in the face of our opposition, we will vote against the report as a whole.
  • Labour MEPs also want investor-state dispute settlement schemes (ISDS) to be excluded. We have submitted an amendment to this effect, and we will vote against the report as a whole if it is insufficiently clear on this point.

The European Parliament has now voted on its red lines in the negotiations on TTIP. Labour MEPs voted to keep public services out of the future deal, to ensure that workers’ rights and environmental standards go up and not down, and to reject the idea of secret tribunals that allow companies to take governments to court. Following the vote, I explained my reasonings to Parliament:

The resolution sets out a number of red lines for Parliament ahead of the resumption of negotiations on the possible TTIP agreement. The red lines make it clear that Parliament will not accept any threats to public services nor to regulatory standards, but it is not sufficiently clear in opposing the proposed ISDS privileged court for foreign investors, hence the negative vote of Labour MEPs.

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7 Comments

  1. ISDS is a disastrous and unnecessary mechanism in its entirety. The Law exists for all. It is for national governments to ensure equitable treatment, not clandestine courts. Legal challenge, if found to be legitimate, should be open and transparent to prevent abuse.

  2. TTIP is not so much a trade agreement as an agreement to guarantee “investors rights”. It is intended to ensure that foreign investors have guaranteed rights that outweigh those of the population of the country they are investing in. One of the ways it aims to do this is to attempt to standardise social, consumer and environmental legislation between countries bound by the agreement. This undermines the right of governments to pass the social, consumer and environmental legislation they may be politically committed to supporting. The ISDS provisions are intended as the means of financially enforcing these so called “Investor rights” but even without this TTIP is an affront to democracy. It sends out a very clear message that you can have any politics you like but if your politics do not prioritise the interests of Corporations above all else then they will be obstructed and interfered with on the pretext of a “trade agreement”. Leaked details of negotiations make it quite clear that the intention is to attempt to enforce lax US consumer and food safety legislation including GM and pesticide use. On the other side of the coin interests in the US are hoping to exploit lax UK banking regulation. All this interferes with the democratic rights of the UK public and TTIP should be rejected in its entirety. The secrecy surrounding these negotiations re-enforces the impression that they intended to undermine democratic rights.

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