Due to non-transparent procedure, we know few things regarding the negotiation between the US and the EU commission on TTIP. Most of the information we have at the moment rest upon some leaks of the free-trade-negotiations, of lobby-documents and of the EU negotiation mandate.
The final text of CETA just came out, and we now can access to its 1,600 pages for the first time since the beginning of the treaty’s negotiations. This publication come very late, especially when there only few months left before the treaty’s signature.
These informations together with the experience we took from other free trade agreements make us worry about the consequences of these agreements. Indeed, official communication of the parties (US, Canada and EU) are boasting TTIP and CETA about employment and economic growth. But economic analysis such as the one made by the Tufts University (Massachusetts) are much more pessimistic. Hundreds of thousand jobs may be destroyed in Europe, such as the 700,000 jobs which disappeared in the US after the application of NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement, signed between Canada, Mexico and the USA).
Moreover, TTIP and CETA contain some mechanisms already known as notably dangerous for democracy, social rights and environmental protection. The Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) and its twin, the Investment Court System (ICS, introduced in the CETA text) pose a threat to democracy. They allow investors to sue states for adopting policies they consider as “harmful” for their present or future investments. Hence, public health or environmental protection policies can be considered as bad for some polluting industries. Also policies ensuring social rights have been in many cases the basis on which governments are sued. In fact, these mechanisms introduce the idea that the transnational corporation’s interests have more value than common goods and safety.
Worse, with these mechanisms, states are not allowed to sue investors, so it’s a one way procedure whereby states can only loose.
TTIP and CETA are also attacking public services. We know that public services constitue the basis of social peace as they reduce the gap between upper and working classes. But these services are some of the first targets to shoot for multinational corporation and neoliberal politicians. European states had to make a negative list of the public services they didn’t agree to liberalise in CETA. That means the services they forgot to list, or those that don’t exist yet, will be mandatorily liberalised. Moreover, the agreements introduce ratchet clauses that forbid to roll back liberalisation. So it’s more than necessary to stop TTIP and CETA before they get signed, after the treaties’ ratification, it will be too late.
TTIP and CETA will also have an impact at the local level. Public procurement is one of the most important tools for local authorities to implement local development policies, to support economic alternative and to promote sustainable productions. But public procurement are also important market for transnational corporations, which is why TTIP and CETA contain chapters related to public procurement. The treaties aim to influence the suppliers’ selection process of local authorities in order to reduce the scope of action.
Indeed, until now the EU legislation promoted the choice of technically efficient projects (regarding the quality of the used materials, the environmental impact, the creation of new jobs…) as important as the price. TTIP and CETA reverse this policy in making the price rate much more important than any other criteria. This is very dangerous for many aspects of our daily lives: school canteens food, public works, water and energy supply, education, hospitals and so on.
For all these reasons we, as European civil society, are opposing TTIP and CETA. We will stop them by striving locally for another economic policy and a transatlantic relationship which is not dominated by big businesses interests.