Independent News from Alternative Sources
After President Obama’s domestic policy has failed, his approval ratings have sunk below 30 % and his foreign policy with both its espionage war and its subversive military adventures in North Africa, Syria and Ukraine having failed, he wanted at least to provide its funders, the high finance and multinational corporations, with market and competitive advantages in Europe, while at the same time he wanted to counter the USA’s decreasing importance on the markets and Russia’s growing importance in Europe with a transatlantic free trade agreement, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (“TTIP”).
The pro-banks-German Chancellor and the pro-corporations-Minister of Commerce in Berlin immediately applauded even before they knew what game is being played. The German large-scale industry took the next move and published sugar-coated growth advantage numbers (EU exports to the USA+0.5 %), so negotiations between the United States and its group representatives on the one hand and the European Commission on the other hand immediately started in the summer of 2013.
As these negotiations were conducted in secret on US orders (how democratic!), and the European member countries could not participate in the negotiations (EU central government instead of sovereign states), it was not clear from the beginning what we have to expect from such a secretly negotiated competition law that cannot be controlled by us but will be imposed upon us only afterwards:
1. Formally, it is an absurdity that the American government with the help of American corporations want to negotiate and settle an agreement, which is intended to be coercive for all European states, with a single, not elected Commissioner.
2. Although this agreement, controlled by big economy, would affect millions of medium-sized enterprises, they and their interests are excluded from the negotiations.
3. And though, especially in Europe, millions of workers would have to bear the consequences of this agreement, the unions are also not admitted in the negotiations.
4. Above all, the liability consequences of this agreement (investment protection) would be able to overrun the European countries with US corporations’ claims for damages whereas the European nation-states and their taxpayers, however, are excluded, as well.
5. With great difficulty we have enforced consumer protection and environmental standards in Germany and Europe. But these interests and for example consumer protectors are excluded from the TTIP negotiations.
On the American side, banking and corporate lobbyists are also involved in the negotiations apart from government representatives, on the European side there are only EU bureaucrats. No wonder economy, science and population consider the TTIP agreement to be a conspiracy of multinational corporations intended to overcome national democratic competition standards in Europe.
After the US high finance has succeeded in stabilizing their bad banks in the financial crisis at the expense and liability of Europe (particularly Germany), the US multi corporations take the next move and try to conquer the European market for their undesired practices and products with the help of TTIP agreement.
With the planned free trade agreement not only all tariffs, but also different standards and safety regulations are supposed to be reduced. Each US group wants to have all of the same rights in all EU countries that it has at home. The TTIP therefore wants to raze and make ineffective those standards and norms that are particularly high in Europe, i.e. standards in the areas of food and agriculture, medicine, health, research and product admission, environmental and animal welfare, labor and social affairs, cultural promotion, because American government policy is always group policy and each US president only accepts contracts that suit American interests at 100 %, i.e. those contracts are actually dictates. Therefore the liability of nations, already demanded by the United States, for all laws that restrict (for example for environmental or health reasons) US corporations’ investments was declared “non-negotiable” and the settlement of litigations through private courts of arbitration with mostly American law firms was made a prerequisite of TTIP rather than settling those conflicts through the established national justice systems.
That, however, the NSA is spying on each European competitor and delivers the obtained data to the American competitors, is also not for debate and, oddly enough, not even considered by European governments as a reason to terminate negotiations. In case the TTIP were settled secretly by the handful of multinational corporations and EU officials,
– the US biotech giant Monsanto could uncontrollably expand its harmful US-GMO seed monopolies on to our fields, get rid of organic competitors by contamination with GM crops and establish the same seed monopolies in Europe that they already achieved in the Americas (corn, soy, wheat, rice). And this, although the first independent research brought about the startling result that the long term consumption of GM soy by mice generated infertility in the animals of 10 generations later. The corporations ruthlessly seek their short-term profit rather than a long-term gain.
– The same applies to American medical products that are not approved in Europe. Everyone knows how close to the approval bodies the connections of US medical companies are. After TTIP these products would automatically be sold in Europe, despite all concerns – and wewouldn’t have any national appeal mechanisms at hand.
– Our social standards set up by the unions differ from the American Wild West capitalism. The latter would then be imposed on us by TTIP. Why do the unions not oppose against this looming dismantling of “social achievements”?
– Rightly, after all, the fine arts and culture have protested against TTIP. It would make the national public cultural funding vulnerable by calling it an “unauthorized distortion of competition”. What would happen here if the orchestras, theaters, museums and other cultural institutions were no longer publicly funded?
– Rightly, also environmentalists are protesting against TTIP: Wherever American standards allow environmental destruction such as the fracking of oil, large surface deforestation, acid discharge into rivers or similar procedures, the US could claim the same for their production in Europe calling it “equal competition conditions”. Our decades of development of environmental culture would be endangered, if not destroyed by TTIP. Precisely for this reason environmentalists are neither admitted to nor informed about these negotiations.
– More than 90 % of all Germans do not want any chemicals in their food. TTIP would force us, however, to come accross US hormone-treated beef and chlorine chicken en masse in the supermarkets. In the USA it is the consumer who must prove which damage has been caused by these products. In Europe it is just the opposite: Here, the producer must prove that the product does not do any harm. This contradiction would be eliminated by pushing American standards through. For example chemical hormone meat: for years Americans have wanted to flood the EU with chemical hormone meat, which the EU has so far blocked; nevertheless was the EU sentenced by the WTO to pay penalties for that “offence”. TTIP would open the European market for US-chemical hormone meat.
– The United States would give up TTIP if they were not granted investment protection clauses with the right to litigate American corporations against EU countries before the private secret court ICSID, as has been demanded from Canada in spite of all protests. TTIP is practically off the national judiciary and all lawsuits with respect to violations of national liberalization (for example, environmental standards, health standards or other) should be left to the arbitral courts intertwined with American companies – without further appeal. This would turn all our legal traditions upside down, but is demanded by the US negotiators as a condition. So far, over 70 % of all such disputes have been decided in favor of the US-companies by these private courts – thus legal peace and confidence would be destroyed on the transatlantic level. How ruthlessly and arbitrarily American justice implements national benefits and international discrimination is particularly evident in France, where the US Department of Justice wants to impose a penalty amounting to 10 billion dollars on the French bank BNP Paribas, because this bank is said to have disregarded the sanctions against Iran that the United States had introduced unilaterally. The transactions had nothing to do with the USA. But the US Court considered itself competent because the transactions had been made in US dollars. In the future, such arbitrary acts by the US Justice would be common if the EU bureaucrats subjugate us under US Investment Protection by the TTIP Agreement.
– Apart from the fact that the EU Commission does not deserve blind faith for the secret negotiations, and on the American side multinationals dictate events and contracts, the agreement – as far as it is known – narrowly focuses on US corporations’ interests. TTIP would thus unilaterally favor US corporations, but would do more harm than good to the Europeans.
Above all, the alleged benefits of economic growth through TTIP are nowhere seriously laid down, but manipulated in such a way that distrust of the TTIP construct is legitimate if only for that. However, even if both sides achieved a growth rate of 0.5 % – which is controversial – the Agreement and thus the disadvantages, which we would have to put up with in agriculture, culture, health, environmental and social standards of our citizens, would not be worth it.
We should tear the masks off their faces and call on all citizens to protest against the national dismantling of our civil rights, our justice, our social, environmental and health standards and our democratic self-determination.
The undemocratic EU bureaucracy cannot relinquish essential democratic rights of its member states in secret negotiations and put them at the mercy of US-monopolists. Who permits so, has lost the right to national democracy.
The proceeding of the United States is not new: The US high finance has unrestrainedly printed dollars and – with agreements on the free movement of capital – imposed their self-created dollars as loans in over 200 countries around the world, so that these countries will have to pay tribute payments for generations (interest and amortization) to the US high finance – the largest financial empire that has ever existed in the world!
Now the American monopoly corporations, for example Monsanto, want to conquer the European market by the transatlantic free trade agreements with its production and service inferior to European standards, and make Europe the same production colony as it did to the financial market.
The Americans’ subversive war in the Ukraine against the Russians shows the further background of TTIP: The US want to prevent any closer economic ties between Europe and Russia. Therefore, there are the sanctions against Russia that do most harm to the German economy; therefore there is the agitation against Russian gas deliveries (‘dependence on Russian gas’) and therefore there is the alleged obligation of Europe to help the economic development of the corrupt and ailing Ukraine (annually 30–40 billion euro) – in the spirit of NATO doctrine: Keep the Russians out, the US in and the Germans down!
But Europe is no longer an American satellite. We may not allow the capitalist officials to sell to the US-monopolists in secret talks all the achievements of generations and culture, e.g. in health standards, Non-GM agricultural diversity, freedom of chemistry and environmental standards! •
(Translation Current Concerns)
Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP))
A TTIP’s predecessor was the Multilateral Agreement about Investments (MAI) which was worked out by the most important transnational enterprises. MAI was to give these enterprises the possibility to sue sovereign nations at an international authority for economical disadvantages and to make them pay up. When in 1997 people found out about MAI’s content, protests in Europe became that massive that the French Prime minister Lionel Jospin didn’t sign it. MAI was off the table. With TTIP international enterprises and investors are triggering another attempt to enforce their interests by overruling the peoples’ right of self-determination.
TTIP concerns all fields
TTIP not only includes rules for trade and investment but interferes profoundly with the sovereignty of nations. The following aspects are essential:
– gene technology: the labels GVO/GMO are to be abolished,
– data protection: insecure data flow from the EU to the USA,
– foods security: EU prohibition of chlorine, disinfectant and growth hormone (Ractopoamin) treated meat is to be abandoned,
– financial sector: national rules concerning financial regulations are to be repealed,
– national regulations concerning transport, health, education, energy, water, development plans, person’s freedom of movement are to be removed.
The future: independence, Swiss model, entering EFTA
In general, trade agreements are important for peace, prosperity and economic development! But: health, the environment and the Mittelstand may must not go to rack and ruin, thereby!
Such far-reaching free trade agreements such as TTIP actually resemble – as mentioned above – a coup d’etat. The nation-state as a bastion of civil rights may possibly be abolished in the process. The European Free Trade Association EFTA, however, presents an alternitive: It consists of the non-EU members Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland, yet has currently negotiated agreements with countries all over the world. Its member states are not politically restricted in any way, and agriculture as a particularly sensitive area is excluded.
And what would it take?
It takes exemplary figures and courageous politicians like Hans Schaffner (Federal Councillor and late President of Switzerland). For Switzerland, he declined to join GATT without being granted an exemption for agriculture. His efforts were successful after ten years of negotiations. And he is the “Father of EFTA”, too.
Author: Eberhard Hamer