From Race to the bottom — Regulatory cooperation in TTIP: A blueprint for
corporate domination? [PDF], a noteworthy new report about the impacts of the pending Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership [previously] by the NGO Global Justice Now [with full sourcing in the document]:
How TTIP has already undermined standards
The EU has already started toning down its standards before TTIP has even been signed.
US officials successfully used the prospect of TTIP to bully the EU into abandoning plans to ban 31 dangerous pesticides with ingredients that have been shown to cause cancer and infertility.
A similar fate befell regulations around the treatment of beef with lactic acid. This was banned in Europe because of fears that the procedure was being used to conceal unhygienic practices. The ban was repealed by MEPs [Members of the Europeab Parliament — esnl] in the European Parliamentary Environment Public Health and Food Safety Committee after EU Commission officials openly suggested TTIP negotiations would be threatened if the ban wasn’t lifted.
On climate change, the European Fuel Quality Directive which would effectively ban Canadian tar sands oil has foundered in the face of strong US-Canadian lobbying around both TTIP and the EU-Canada CETA deal [the parallel Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, now in negotiation — esnl].
More generally, the EU’s Better Regulation programme has also been linked to TTIP. Better Regulation explicitly seeks to reduce the regulatory ‘burden’, delaying the implementation of new rules on things like safe levels of chemicals. Trade unions say that Better Regulation has already been responsible for 100,000 deaths from cancer.
The fact that all of this is happening before any deal has been signed exposes the emptiness of the EU Commission’s claims that regulatory cooperation in TTIP won’t lead to a race to the bottom on standards.
If the mere prospect of TTIP is enough to convince EU officials to allow carcinogenic pesticides and tar sands oil, what awaits us after TTIP comes into force can only be imagined.
Next, a video about a parallel TTIP problem from Corporate Europe Observatory’s webttv:
Suing the state: hidden rules within the EU-US trade deal
This film presents some of the dangers of the investor rights within the proposed EU-US trade deal. We need to stop this corporate attack on our democracy and policies to protect the public interest.
The film has been produced by Sourced TV for Corporate Europe Observatory
And what about that secret court?
First, A cartoonist’s take on the court from Keith Tucker, via Twitter:
Some disturbing elucidation from a November, 2014 piece from Mel Kelly of Green European Journal:
The “court” being used to sue governments using the ISDS clause in trade agreements is not a court of law but the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA). Established in 1891 in the City of London, it is a private company limited by guarantee, which acts as a private corporate court to settle international commercial disputes between private corporations and was never intended to have power over governments – but the “Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) clause being quietly inserted into “trade agreements”, for some unknown reason (other than corporate greed and corporate abhorrence at democracy) gives this corporate court power over any government which has signed a trade agreement with the ISDS clause in place.
At the time of its incorporation an academic journal said “this chamber will have all the virtues which the law lacks. It is to be expeditious where the law is slow, cheap where the law is costly, simple where the law is technical, a peacemaker instead of a stirrer-up of strife.”
But not content with bypassing every EU court of law to sue governments if TTIP is signed, corporations have decided the 1998 London Court of International Arbitration rules should be updated before TTIP (and the EU Canadian CETA) trade agreements are signed, and that the new LCIA “arbitration rules” should seek to “promote a more speedy, efficient, and fair arbitration process, one that is more aligned with modern arbitral practice.”
Translated this means corporations have just quietly changed their LCIA arbitration rules as of 1st October 2014, to make it even easier, faster and cheaper for Corporations to sue every EU government signed up to TTIP-CETA, in a move designed to tip their scales of corporate injustice firmly in Corporate America’s favour using what can only be described as LCIA corporate kangaroo courts.
Needless to say, many Europeans are alarmed, so much so that 3,263,920 of them signed a petition to stop both TTIP and the CETA in less than four months.
Which explains our choice for a concluding graphic, via Greenpeace España: