An underreported EU trade deal may threaten hard-fought environmental protections and make it easier for corporations to sue local governments.
By now many of us have heard of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)—the massive 12-nation trade deal (“NAFTA on steroids,” critics say) that could undo any number of labor and environmental laws. But while the firestorm over TPP was heating up in Washington, negotiators were hammering out yet another massive trade deal, this time with the European Union. It’s called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and it’s every bit as scary as the Pacific deal, says Cole Stangler at In These Times (Dec. 30, 2013).
Like TPP, TTIP is mostly about bringing regulations between countries more in step. And before you get excited about France’s paid vacation laws, it’s probably going to be more of a race to the bottom. Expect something like American-style GMO laws to show up in Europe and the EU’s infamously wimpy financial regulations on Wall Street. Negotiators are also excited about beefing up “investor-state dispute” laws, which would make it easier for corporations to sue governments over laws they don’t like.
Oh, and you can’t read it. Also like TPP, the EU deal is super-duper secret as officials don’t want pesky public concerns getting in the way of negotiations. They did invite “stakeholders” like unions and green groups to give 10-minute presentations at a meeting in December—but compared to the hundreds of corporate lobbyists negotiators see regularly, “stakeholder” positions on TTIP are probably not a huge priority.