A SECRETIVE new EU-US trade deal poses a wide-ranging threat to localism, the environment and food safety, writes Polly Jones.
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is an ambitious trade deal currently being negotiated between the EU and US. Talks began in July 2013 and negotiators hope to conclude them next summer. The aim of the deal is to remove tariffs and regulation to create new and equal business opportunities for EU and US companies. There are many reasons to be concerned about TTIP. The government’s questionable economic modelling suggests that at best TTIP would only benefit each person in the UK by £2 a week and that wouldn’t be until 2027. The costs are very serious and include lower environmental, labour and food safety standards, liberalisation of public services and new powers for corporations to sue governments.
TTIP could have significant implications for public procurement at national, regional and local government level. All the calculations for the benefits of this trade deal assume that public procurement will be liberalised by 50%. This not only means an expansion of contracting in services from businesses but would also require the removal of local authorities’ requirements to source and employ locally. Under TTIP, US and EU companies would have to be able to compete on the same terms for local business – this is why many US businesses think that “buy American” policies to support US businesses are at risk from the trade deal.
With the TTIP negotiations shrouded in secrecy, it is impossible to know for certain what its implications will be. No MPs and only a handful of MEP's are allowed to see the draft recommendations about what the deal should include. Hundreds of thousands of people across Europe and the US are calling for an end to the TTIP-free zones.
We are campaigning to stop TTIP because if passed it will be a blueprint for all future trade deals around the world and one that threatens public services, the environment and democracy.
Polly Jones is head of policy & campaigns at the World Development Movement