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Commentary :: Environment
TTIP - Why the World Should Beware, 61 pp
16 Jun 2015
Radical free trade policies did not begin with the birth of NAFTA, nor with the founding of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995 – both had been in place in over 90 developing and transitional economies for over a decade through structural adjustment programmes imposed by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). (Walden Bello)
Susan George and Walden Bello wrote the foreword and introduction.

to read the 61-page study from the Rosa Luxemburg foundation, May 2015, click on

TTIP is a direct blow against democracy, but not just for the countries where it will apply. The ‘overseeing and accelerating’ and the ‘integrating’ of the two economies are ominous for the rest of the world as well. Clearly, the largest corporations in the world expect to make the rules for the most powerful economic bloc ever conceived and – once
this bloc is well under control – to impose those same rules on everyone.

Let us also remember that, if this treaty passes, and if the United States also manages to complete the negotiations on the TransPacific Partnership (TPP) with 11 Latin American and Asia-Pacific nations, including Japan and Australia, it will occupy the central global pole position representing a bloc of almost two-thirds of world GDP and nearly three quarters of world trade. The two agreements – assuming both are signed – will contain identical or very similar provisions. Such a coup would allow the US to advance its ‘contain China’ strategy considerably, but also to confront all the BRICS and other developing countries. The message would be clear: sign on for the same clauses, provisions and
rules, or you will be marginalised in world trade. TTIP is not just about investment and deregulation, although it is deeply engaged in both: it’s a blunt instrument to dictate standards established by and for the business brass of the developed countries, on the whole world, whether the world likes it or not.

One can expect that smaller and weaker states will be the first forced to give in, but ultimately corporate rules will apply not just to trade of all products made or processed anywhere but to the so-called ‘non-trade barriers’ that govern all aspects of ordinary peoples’ lives, from food to pharmaceuticals, labor laws to environmental degradation and much, much more.

One particularly frightening example is the planned replacement of the judiciary by private arbitration tribunals: this aspect of TTIP has angered opposition forces perhaps more than any other, and for good reasons. The tribunals are not just private, employing private lawyers and arbitrator-judges from top – mostly British or US – law firms. They
are also both anti-democratic and costly. After the proceedings, which are kept secret, if the state loses the case to the investor, citizens of that country will be obliged to pay the compensation awarded through their taxes. The provision is unilateral – states can’t complain against investors – and there is no recourse or process of appeal. In the cases decided so far by such tribunals operating under bilateral investment treaty law, states have been obliged to pay something to the corporations in 63% of cases, either because of the arbitrators’ decision or because they preferred to make a settlement directly with the investor suing them outside of court. (Susan George)
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