Proposed US-EU trade pact threatens wages, food safety, eco protections

Candidates and activists in the Green Party of the United States are expressing strong opposition to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) as currently negotiated between the United States and European Union.
"Trade barriers between the U.S. and Europe are already low, but the TTIP would lower it even further by weakening labor, food safety, and environmental protections, enabling further privatization of public resources and services, and gutting corporate regulations," said Friedemann Buschbeck, co-coordinator of the Green Party of Tampa, Florida.
"The White House doesn't want us to talk about it. As with the TPP [TransPacific Partnership], the TTIP's U.S. negotiators have tried to keep the deal a secret from the public. We need public scrutiny and discussion, including hearings, on the effects of the TTIP," said Mr. Buschbeck.
The Green Party of the U.S. has strongly opposed trade deals that establish secretive panel of pro-corporate experts sitting in a foreign court of arbitration with the power to nullify legislation passed in the U.S. and other signatory states. Greens support negotiation of TTIP and renegotiation of other agreements to strengthen labor, environmental, and consumer protections.
On May 19, former Green Party presidential nominee Cynthia McKinney and prominent members of the Green Party of England and Wales issued a statement opposing the TTIP (Joint Transatlantic Greens’ Statement: The TTIP is 'a huge threat to democracy',
In the statement, Ms. McKinney said "First and foremost, the TTIP is focussed on profit generation for the benefit of owners and shareholders of large multinational corporations. It will do this through lowering labour costs and removing tariffs. This won’t be to the general benefit of citizens. The TTIP will bring substantial reductions in tax revenues at a significant cost to the public good, greater job insecurity and a 'race to the bottom' in labour standards, safety, environmental regulation and consumer protection."
Greens warned that the TTIP, if passed as currently negotiated, will depress wages, impose corporate-friendly copyright and intellectual property rules that will damage the free exchange of ideas, weaken regulations on genetically modified foods and crops, and threaten laws that limit or prohibit fracking and nuclear power.
Greens cited widespread support in the U.S. for stronger regulations on food safety, including labeling requirements for labeling of genetically modified foods; such rules are already in effect in Europe. On the other hand, some bank regulations are stronger in the U.S. but face weakening under the TTIP.
According to economist Dean Baker, "[S]everal countries in Europe and many state and county governments in the United States impose restrictions that make fracking difficult or impossible. In their dream agreement, the oil and gas industries will have a set of minimal restrictions on fracking. The deal will then define anything more stringent as a restraint on trade subject to penalties." ("The US-EU trade deal: don't buy the hype," The Guardian, July 15, 2013,
Mr. Baker noted that the TTIP may "include wording that would make it impossible to enforce a financial transactions tax like the one now being considered by the European Union." The Green Party of the U.S. strongly supports a tax on financial transactions, which would reduce the kind of reckless speculative and short-term trading that helped trigger the 2008 economic meltdown.
"U.S. citizens should recognize that the TTIP is a scheme that would allow corporations and investors to challenge government regulations, while weakening the ability of individuals and governments to hold corporations accountable," said Chris Wahmhoff, Green candidate for the U.S. Senate in Michigan.
"We need fair trade, not free trade. We need the kind of public protest against the TTIP and TPP that took place from 1999 to 2003 against the WTO, IMF, World Bank, and other antidemocratic trade authorities," said Mr. Wahmhoff.


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