The US-EU Free Trade Agreement Panel Discussion
Why should we be very concerned about the current US/EU Free Trade Agreement:
The US/EU Bi-Lateral Trade Agreement talk on the 28th October 2013 with Linda Kaucher and Tom Lines was a runaway success. Above is a loosely edited video of the talk. About 30 people turned up which was the perfect number for a full house at the London Action Resource Center in Whitechapel. About 40 people watched the livestream of the event. At the end of the evening an email list of 16 signatures was gathered from mostly new sign ups to Occupy to start a group to combat this legislation. This group is now called StopTTIP. Please visit the page for info on how to join. This is a wonderful outcome and we hope to keep up the vibrant urgency and motivation we created on the night.
Much was learnt and it could not be more concisely summarised than through the latest contribution by a visitor at LARC yesterday who wishes to remain anonymous.
A response from one of the attendees who wishes to remain anonymous.
EU-US Trade Deal. Meeting in Whitechapel, 28/10/13
“Thank you” very much to you and to the other organisers at Occupy for arranging last night. It was great and very informative. I learnt a lot and have hope that we can do something about all this. Whether we have success is another matter though:
This meeting was very informative and taught me an awful lot about what is actually going on with the EU-US Trade Deal.
1. The reason why the US is so keen to get involved in trade deals is because it feels it is losing its dominance in the global market. The biggest threat to the US dominance is China. The thinking behind such trade deals is that, by the time the Chinese economy reaches dominance, the US will have safely locked in so many other countries into trade deals with it, that China will have to play by America’s rules and not vice versa.
2. The way that trade deals come about is that representatives (not govts) do the negotiating. Obviously these are not democratically nominated representatives and they represent the concerns of Big Business, *not* the citizens of the individual countries involved. i.e. we are living in a time of Corporate Fascism (Fascism Lite). A film was recommended to watch which demonstrates how this works in the EU. The film is called “The Brussels Business” and is available on youtube.
3. Part of the Trade Deal with the US will involve the harmonising of regulations. This will impact on just about everything to do with how we live our lives and will include issues such as: the environment, fracking, food standards, health matters, GMOs. An example was given of the govt’s seeming U-Turn on plain tobacco packaging, but a case has already been fought (and lost) in Australia where tobacco companies were successfully able to argue that it infringed upon their ability to distinguish one brand from another.
4. The NHS and other public services. This is the worst bit of the lot, IMO Unless the NHS is exempted from this deal, there will be NO WAY BACK. Even if Labour repeals the NHS Privatisation Act, we will still be liable to be sued under competition laws if American Healthcare Companies, many of whom have been convicted of fraud, get a foothold in the market through the EU-US Trade Deal.
5. The time frame we are looking at is that they expect to complete negotiations by the end of next year. This particular trade deal is progressing at break-neck speed. The reason it is able to do so is because it is shrouded in secrecy. People do not know what is going on. We are looking at things like the Balcombe anti-fracking protests being completely and utterly useless because a firm like Cuadrilla can potentially sue us for not accepting their business. The only hope for our NHS is for it to be exempted. However, this govt would be clearly be more than happy for it to be sold off. If the NHS is tangled up in this, that’s it. Game over.
Documents “released in error” relating to the deal:http://corporateeurope.org/trade/2013/10/ttip-documents-released-european-commission
And leaked documents relating to the mandate to set up this Trade Deal which none of us voted for:
Stateless Power: http://freecriticalthinking.org/daily-pickings/719-stateless-power
The Poverty of Capitalism by John Hilary
Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and the Men who Stole the World Book by Nicholas Shaxson
THE BRUSSELS BUSINESS DOCUMENTARY. The Lobby Industry. Published on 15 Jun 2013.
Documentary on the issue of lobbying around the European institutions in Brussels