Discussions rage on how to defeat TTIP
Last night the Unison Regional office in Manchester hosted the "No TIPP" national tour.
The tour, organised by War on Want with the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, UNISON, WDM and other partners, aims to raise awareness and mobilise against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
Currently being negotiated in secret between the EU and USA, TTIP is set to be the biggest transfer of power to transnational capital that we have seen in a generation. The tour and the national day of action on Saturday 12th are hoping to increase awareness and create a movement to help defeat it.
Last night John Hilary, Executive Director of War on Want, opened the discussions with a brief summary on the TTIP and a mention of other free trade agreements that have been defeated in recent years.
He was initially joined by a Manchester economist lecturer who explained how and why the positive forecast of TTIP benefits were really just thin air estimations and that these can be challenged.
A panel of five experts and campaigners then went onto discuss TTIP in more depth. The speakers included:
Melinda St Louis, International Campaigns Director of the Global Trade Watch programme at Public Citizen. Melinda explained how the past experience in the US of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) had left many Americans sceptical over the benefits of TIPP. She stated that it was unlikely the US would agree to TTIP if the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDA) clause was not included.
Ulrike Herrmann, author of the new anti-TTIP briefing Free Trade: Project of the Powerful, explained how TTIP would be a living agreement which would have two steps. The first step would involve deregulation. The second step would be "regulatory corporation" whereby any new laws would have to be checked with the agreement to see if it would have a major impact on trade. Ulrike talked about the situation in Germany, where many people opposed the idea of TTIP with a German minister stating they would not support it if it included ISDS. Germany had had recent experience of being sued by Vattenfall using the ISDS structure.
Nick Dearden, a director from the World Development Movement, told the group that leaked papers from the trade negotiations had confirmed most of suspicions of campaigners. He said that in a document from the Houses of Commons politicians had been told "we are losing the public support on TIPP" and to stop using the figures about how much growth or how many jobs TIPP would create due to the fact these figures were regularly being discredited by campaigners.
Yet despite the doom and gloom citizens on both sides of the Atlantic were waking up to what this would mean. He stated that on Saturday there were over 10 cities planning a day of action in the UK; the major unions, Unite, GMB, Unison etc plus the major unions based in France, Spain and Germany were opposed to TTIP; over 70 local papers had been flooded with letters from concerned residents forcing local MPs to take a stance; and that the Labour party had now began to recognise the opposition to TIPP.
Last weeks TTIP action
On Friday 4th July the European Commission's consultation website crashed when over 40,000 people submitted objections to the plans. The consultation deadline was then extended (but is now closed).
Demonstration this Saturday (12th July 2014)
There are demonstrations across the country this Saturday to voice opposition to TTIP and help spread the word.
Visit the Nottip site for more information.
Five things you can do today to help defeat TTIP
1. Get informed - visit nottip.org for more resources and information
2. Write to your local newspaper - discover more >
3. Get your local MP to sign the EDM 202
4. Share this video on facebook and twitter
5. Share you views and ideas for actions on the Ethical Consumer forums.
More from Ethical Consumer on TTIP:
Are we reaching TTIPing point?
Public Services, Privatisation and TTIP
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