27/11/2014

TTIP or the law of the jungle

If it is true that today the world is at a crossroads, two forces are currently in times of struggle. And if it is true that the we are the system, becomes ever more urgent that we start taking sides in this fight, because the reality seems to be happening above us, and we are not realizing.

Exists and is working now in a transnational trade agreement that will affect the whole world, will the change many of the already minimal structures of protection and of rights of the  citizens and why not say, of governments themselves. But you will have not read in any newspaper or on television, or by any means of mass communication, so that once again they have been heralded as genuine accomplices of power, not the citizenry and public opinion, by the theoretically have their rationale.

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Politically, the agreement will eliminate differences between American and European regulations

On November 28 2011 was created the Working Group High Level Jobs and Growth, in order to explore possible avenues for increasing investment and trade between the US and the EU. In June 2013, EU and US announced ‘the solution’: the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Agreement —TTIP is its acronym in English—. This agreement is a free trade agreement with historical and terrible precedents, terrible why none have achieved the objectives posed to social and employment level, if not the opposite. The NAFTA, for example, was predicted by the voice of Bill Clinton the creation of 20 million new jobs and after years has destroyed a million jobs and has increased the insecurity of those left standing.

Well, the TTIP has its reason for being, in theory, because will create —said by the most optimistic voices— two million new jobs and a GDP growth of 1% per annum for US and EU. However, in front of such encouraging figures, none of the powers —including Spain— has made public these estimates, neither have said a word about the treaty nor included as part of its political program, to get voters. Curious, very curious.

What pretends the treaty is to reduce all trade restrictions between the two powers, tariff and which are not tariff. Tariffs between the US and EU are already very low, almost symbolic, there is an almost free trade between the two powers. However, non-tariff restrictions maintaining sovereignty in type laws, labor, social, environmental and economic policies themselves are very different on either side of the ocean. It is here where the treaty aims to influence more strongly, and is basically his real reason for being.

Europe has a policy more stringent than US levels. For start there are the welfare states in Europe stronger and more extensive in the world, compared to the US which has the weakest welfare state that exists in the Western world. In the dimension of rights cannot be further from each other, neither the regulations concerning the use, production, or use of agricultural chemicals and genetically modified products. In the US there are tens of chemicals, but are banned in Europe. In the US, for example, to determine which products are dangerous for human consumption is the government itself who studies and concludes and if you can market or not. In Europe the process is reversed, the companies who must prove that these products are not toxic, then the government approves or not for consumption.

Environmental laws are much laxer there than here, and returning it to name those concerning social rights are incomparable. Moreover, the economic models and production differ at all levels. In the EU, 99% of GDP consists of small and medium enterprises and their destruction would adversely affect their economies, something that has been said ad nauseam in EU. US has a model that is inversely based on large multinational corporations  and large armies of workers, technically called working-poors, only two of the rights established by the International Organization of Workers are met, in front of the eight rights respected in Europe. Moreover, since their model of welfare and production, US have the most deregulated, free-market and most neoliberal economy of the world.

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Economically, the agreement between the United States and the European Union will affect to 60% of global GDP

Well, the TTIP it aims to standardize these differences, and on either side of these barriers or restrictions —called contingencies— want to be equivalent by both parties of the agreement. But the fact is, to achieve this, clearly Europe will have to do more lax regulations for all, because if what is needed is leveling Europe, must necessarily lower the level of its laws towards new and less restrictive. As Juan Torres López, specialist in Applied Economy and member of the Scientific Council of ATTAC, says in an interview for the website DailyMotion, this agreement as to the contingencies will mean three major changes:

1) The agreement will make the exchange of products equivalence is established,what is good there, here is good too , the rules are standardized, and products that are banned here may be marketed and therefore consumed. Some examples are:  with hormone-treated beef and veal, turkey and chicken cleaning with  chlorine or greater number of transgenic products, all hitherto banned in the EU. And it is not necessary contained on labels —another fundamental difference—.

2) Laws and specific courts for what is called ‘investment protection’. If an investor or company operates for example in the same sector as the public, can ask the same condition or better to compete with it freely and therefore the public sector be left unprotected.

3) Creation of specific courts for such regulations, that historical experience with similar treaties said to be discrete and silent publicly and often highly arbitrary.

In short, an authentic and definitive blow to democracy and sovereignty of nations, governments and the public sector. A final blow to the emerging economies, because the West is allying with the West —US and EU account for 60% of global GDP—, but with the freedom to continue relocating. And finally, the triumph of one of the two tendencies in struggle, the no democratization and free markets where the maximum benefit reigns above all else, nature, individual rights and society. The treaty still in negotiations now; the Commissioner DeGucht, one of his captains, said that negotiations should remain confidential until its end. The deal could be in place later this year or early next. In Spain, on May 6 2014, IU raised a referendum for TTIP which was rejected by voting against PP, PSOE, CiU, PNV and UPyD, i.e., all major parties. One last item of interest: nine of the ten parts that make up the treaty negotiators are formed by lobbyists and corporations.

Bye bye to the old continent, ¡hello to Mc Donald’s! What can we do?