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As the Department for Business launches a campaign to promote the benefits of the TTIP, following a wave of criticism from ‘civil society’, MPs and unions, Birmingham MP Roger Godsiff highlights the threats it poses to the UK’s public services, workplace safety, food hygiene, workers’ rights and environmental protection. George Monbiot says: This transatlantic trade deal is a full-frontal assault on democracy. Investor-state rules could be used to smash any attempt to save the NHS from corporate control, to re-regulate the banks, to curb the greed of the energy companies, to renationalise the railways, to leave fossil fuels in the ground.

Kenneth Clarke replies that TTIP is an astonishingly good deal for the UK economy.

America’s IATP raises a serious concern about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) currently being negotiated

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The draft negotiating texts are open only to TTIP negotiators and security cleared advisors – mostly corporate representatives. However a draft chapter of the TTIP was ‘leaked’ recently. The concern cited focussed on Sanitary and Phytosanitary issues (SPS), relating to food safety and animal and plant health.

Proposals would offer financial benefits for U.S. meat and food companies, but jeopardize food safety for consumers

  • The text supports no requirement for port of entry food inspections and testing – meaning that food contamination outbreaks will be harder to trace to their origin, and liability harder to assess. Such a trade agreement could make it more difficult to restrict imports from countries with animal or plant diseases, such as Mad Cow Disease or plant fungus outbreaks.
  • Laws or rules on agriculture animal welfare passed by a U.S. state or EU member state could not be enforced and used to prevent import of products from animals reared under poor conditions.

Read the complete leaked chapter for more information.

The TTIP Oversight Body, which would refer unresolved SPS concerns to a Investor State Dispute Settlement mechanism, resembles the World Bank’s International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID)

unctad logoThe UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has ’denounced’ the ICSID convention and Ecuador, like Bolivia, has withdrawn from membership, terminating several bilateral investment treaties. The Investment Arbitration Reporter explains that Ecuador was angered by a series of rulings ordering the Republic to refrain from collecting its windfall levy payments from energy companies, until ICSID arbitrators had examined whether such levies breach the terms of investment contracts and/or treaties.

Are the proposals yet another move towards American economic hegemony?