TTIP trade talks

TTIP trade talks ‘undermined’ by secrecy: Cable

By Michael Stones contact

- Last updated on GMT

Flags of convenience: too much secrecy surrounds the TTIP trade talks: Vince Cable
Flags of convenience: too much secrecy surrounds the TTIP trade talks: Vince Cable

Related tags: Trade deal, European union

Unnecessary secrecy is undermining the EU/US trade talks, business secretary Vince Cable has warned a top Brussels official.

While acknowledging the benefits of liberalising trade – as part of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) – Cable told EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström that public concern about the talks was mounting.

“I dislike the level of secrecy that has surrounded the transatlantic trade deal so far and can completely understand why some people are worried,”​ said Cable. “I have met many campaign groups over the last nine months to discuss this and taken on board many of their concerns. I will be working to ensure all British interests are protected and that the deal can be properly scrutinised.”

Cable urged a greater transparency to allay pubic concerns that a trade deal would compromise EU standards on food and the environment.

‘US businesses will have to raise their game’

“As with the NHS​ [National Health Service], our high standards, when it comes to the environment or food, are not up for negotiation,”​ said Cable. “If we can recognise mutually high standards with the US we will do so. But where we can’t, US businesses will have to raise their game to meet our higher standards, not the other way around.”

Some people in Britain questioned what was on the TTIP negotiating table and worried Europe and the US have something to hide, he said. But that was untrue and the talks should be held in public as much as possible.

Cable also wanted to see the the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) tightened up. “Some people fear that investors could sue us for losses and win if the government takes a decision – on health, the environment or consumer safety – in the wider public interest. We must demonstrate clearly that this could never happen.”

Malmström said forging a deal on TTIP will be a big challenge but worth the effort.

‘We can both win’

“I am positive we will both ​[EU and US] get an agreement because we can both win,”​ Malmström told BBC Radio 4’s Today​ programme yesterday (February 17).

“This is the most ambitious trade deal attempted by the EU but it is a win-win situation for both parties.” ​See the TTIP infographic below produced by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills.

TTIP resistance

“TTIP will put downward pressure on EU food safety, health and environmental standards.”

Sam Lowe, FoE lead TTIP campaigner

The Food and Drink Federation told last month TTIP was “a win-win situation”​ for UK food and drink manufacturers.

Meanwhile, pressure groups such as the Friends of the Earth (FoE) continued to argue that TTIP will damage the environment and undermine democracy. FoE lead TTIP campaigner Sam Lowe warned on the group’s website: “EU plans for an energy chapter in TTIP, and efforts to push the US to reduce restrictions on the export of crude oil and shale gas, will serve to lock us into a high-carbon future.

“TTIP will put downward pressure on EU food safety, health and environmental standards.”

Also, the ISDS mechanism will be used to challenge, obstruct and delay pro-environment legislation, he said.

“One thing is for sure: our elected representatives are now really starting to get that TTIP is a toxic issue​. This time last year pretty much none of them had heard of it, now they’re spitting acronyms with the best of them,”​ said Lowe.

FoE will support a day of protest against TTIP on April 18.


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1 comment

Majority of British People will Suffer in the Long Term with the TTIP

Posted by Dr David Hill,

90% of the people of the EU would lose out big time with the TTIP as all other trade deals that have been signed to date have shown.

Indeed, some politicians are asking David Cameron to use the Veto to opt out the NHS from the TTIP, but where this will not secure the NHS's future in the long-term.

For a Veto is no good to stop anything as time goes on and is a short-term mechanism. Once the TTIP has been signed by our hoodwinked politicians and where it is forever as the treaty makes clear it is irrevocable, over a period of 10-years the EU will make it mandatory that the NHS is opened up to private healthcare corporations. The reason, the treaty states quite clearly that monopolies cannot exist and in the TTIP's eyes, the NHS is a giant monopoly and is illegal under the trade agreement. Indeed if the UK or any EU nation tried to pull out of the TTIP no matter when, they would be sued by every multi-national corporation from the USA and EU for loss of earnings and profit. The treaty is also clear on that also if you read between the lines. So a veto is not worth the paper it is wrote on. Consequently the only way to stop this corporate grab is to stop the TTIP and never allow our politicians to sign it. Simple really.

Read, 'The TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) will be an Absolute Disaster for the People of the EU (European Union) and the People of America (USA) in the long-term - We simply have to Vote AGAINST this behind closed doors Transatlantic Trade deal before it is signed up and too late for the People to do anything about it' -

This corporate grab will create job losses (NAFTA a smaller scale similar treaty has killed off 700,000 American jobs according to Robert Reich, former US Secretary of State for Labor) and reduced standards of living for 90% of the people in the EU. Remember once signed the TTIP is irrevocable and we cannot come out if our astute politicians eventually realise that they have made a big, big mistake, probably the biggest in political history.

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