The disastrous effects of the Transatlantic Treaty (TTIP)

An amalgam of acronyms seems to describe the same thing. And it is not without reason. The opacity for which this news is processed free trade agreement between the United States and the European Union, Induces a lack of consensus among media players. However, the English acronym, made available by supranational institutions, of TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) has been widely accepted in the press.[1].

However, the letter soup doesn’t stop at TTIP. CETA (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) and PSA (Strategic Partnership Agreement) are trade and political agreements between the countries of the Union and Canada. This will serve as a bridge to implement TTIP. On September 26, 2014, negotiations between the two actors were concluded pending ratification of the treaty in the Council and the European Parliament (competent body) and in the respective parliaments of the EU Member States (if their constitution so requires) .

But what is TTIP?

It seems understood that this treaty means, in general, to organize the largest free trade market in the world, which would bring together more than 800 million consumers and more than half of the world’s GDP (54%) also making it possible to boost the European economies to € 120,000 million and the American economies to € 95,000 million (data prepared by the Center for Economic Policy Research)[2]. With this economic vision, a European citizen would not doubt its implementation, but … why then so secret?

TTIP goes well beyond “simple” free trade agreements, as it pursues three very important objectives that need to be clarified. The first would be the removal of the last customs duties (tariff barriers), which are already very low.[3]. The second, for its part, aims to “harmonize” non-tariff barriers (rules) between the countries concerned.[4]. Finally, it consists in guaranteeing legal mechanisms, called ISDS (Investor-State Dispute Settlement), so that investors do not encounter regulatory or legislative obstacles in the markets they intend to enter, and if they find them, they can avoid them. In other words, TTIP (or also CETA) it seeks to prioritize the interests of large corporations over states, With the obvious loss of sovereignty that would entail.[5]+[6]

In fact, negotiations have been initiated by many American lobbies.[7] and Europeans[8], But officially, it is the officials of the respective governments who take care of it[9]. The negotiations will theoretically end next year, but will be preceded by a long process of ratification in the Council and the European Parliament as well as in countries where their legislation so requires. This process will not be an easy task at this time of economic, social and political crisis in Europe (especially in the South). From this context, the more uncertainty about the possible consequences of TTIP, the impermeability of institutions can be deduced.[10].

What are the advantages or disadvantages of TTIP?

The advantages or disadvantages vis-à-vis European or American societies are different according to the case, and according to the ideological prism in which one looks. According to the report prepared by the CEPR banking lobby by the European Commission (which also states that this is an economic forecast and is obviously not sure), the benefits are linked to economic growth.0, 5% of EU GDP and 0.4% of US GDP) mainly in certain sectors: notably the automotive sector (40% increase in exports), the metallurgical sector (+ 12%), the food industry (+ 9 %), chemicals (+ 9%) … with regard to employment, a study commissioned by the Commission predicts a transfer of jobs between sectors (compared to 7 jobs in 1000 in 10 years) and does not not really create the same. It is important! Politicians always play the job creation card to justify the free trade agreement (or other interests of questionable legitimacy) when they don’t really buy into the data from official studies of the institutions they represent. .

In addition, the drawbacks materialize at several more levels, which are not mentioned in the CEPR study (too economist analysis): the treaty endangers the social, economic, health, cultural, human level. environment, politics and even geopolitics. .. for example, the eight fundamental rights proposed by the International Labor Organization (ILO) are adopted by EU member states. In return, only two of them are ratified by the United States government. The experience of free trade agreements suggests that the “harmonization” of rules is established on the basis of the lowest common denominator, which would lead to a loss of the fundamental rights of European workers, a section specifically mentioned by the CEPR which declares, in fact, the need to deregulate employment.

Another example we offer, due to its social sensitivity, is threats to the environment. A free trade market will increase freight traffic as well as energy costs and, above all, pollution. On the other hand, the free entry and the use of certain polluting technologies such as the extraction of shale gas (fracturing), allow the use of agro-industrial chemicals, you like chlorine-soaked chicken and beef with hormones. doors to GMOs (although in Spain the practice of GMOs is deeply rooted[11]) … would be some of these effects to consider.

To end this point, we will cite the most disturbing: the loss of democracy. Politicians and citizens constantly claim that we live in a democracy. But democracy is not or ceases to be, but depends more or less on the productive structure and the dialogue of the competent actors within the system (where society is the legitimate actor of a democracy). The lack of transparency of the European Union around an intrinsically undemocratic TTIP, denounced by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CURIA), is symptomatic of the loss of democratic quality that the treaties will entail. The economy supplants politics and definitively subjects society to the laws of the market.

The “anarchy” of the (neo) liberal market

A Europe subject to the rules of large transnational corporations will lead to a transformation of the production system, and therefore of the social system, as well as to a decline in the sovereignty of States (the little that they have left after the signing of the transfer of sovereignty in the Lisbon). A release of the capacity for action of large companies, which will increase competition (hyper-competition), leads to a scenario where small producers can be severely punished if they are not able to adapt to these new circumstances. be basic), causing conflict at all levels of society.

Monopolies, oligopolies … will have the opportunity to increase their capacity to act against States, Those who would be deprived of legal tools for this (remember the ISDS arbitration mechanisms between SOEs). Structural reforms, experienced in an extreme way in Spain, are the basis of the free movement to be established. The latter, if it comes to fruition, will be a further step towards economic globalization, with the United States starting with some advantage. All this thanks to the influence of its Internet giants: Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft … This deregulation of the markets would also worsen the possibility of a crisis. First, because of the productive specialization in a given territorial area, which would tend to intensify against productive diversity, the resistance to secular economic crises of capitalism is more effective. Second, states, as mediators of social forces and employers’ forces, would have no power to prevent the fall of the productive system. The loss of democracy to control of the economy is the final price.

Notes:

[1] http: //ec.europa.eu/trade/policy/in-focus/ttip/ind …

[2] CEPR is a lobbying organization funded by various private banks.

[3] According to the World Trade Organization, tariff barriers in Europe vary by product, but the average is 5.8%. Products that contain a filler Higher tariff are agricultural products with an average of 13.24%. In contrast, customs duties imposed on industrial products are much lower, 4.2%.

[4] According to a study carried out by the Res Publica Foundation on September 16, 2013, the “harmonization” of the rules will be done “from below”. In other words, national or supranational rules will be adopted if the restrictions are less “detrimental” to capital flows.

[5] The fine of nearly € 9,000 million imposed on French banking group BNP Paribas by the US government for an alleged investment in countries under US embargo (Cuba, Iran and Sudan) predicts that US economic law will prevail over others. It seems paradoxical that when drafting a transatlantic treaty in which the interests of multinationals defended by future international tribunals will prevail, the American government can impose its law (given its control over the dollar) on European companies.

[6] It seems important to us to specify that the main American interest is of an imperialist nature and, consequently, geopolitical (or geostrategic). The reason is conditioned by the new protectionist position of the Chinese government, in particular with regard to the protection of its own high-tech brands for domestic consumption. Likewise, their monetary ambitions seek to gradually compete with the dollar (although this is far from over). In addition, the United States wants to rebalance its trade deficit in recent years to ensure hegemony over legislation on industrial products. This would induce the need for third countries to adapt to the productive rules of the transatlantic treaty. While European interests, for their part, remain mere mercantilist issues (without political ambition to counter American domination), the United States seeks to maintain its hegemony at all costs, which will lead to an attempt to marginalize China. and Russia. The process is not easy, as they are looking for allies to counter American hegemony. The clearest example is the BRICS meeting in Brazil which coincides with the World Cup; as well as Vladimir Putin’s tour of Latin America. Noteworthy is his agreement to create a joint investment bank between the BRICS and the gas pipeline that will link China and Russia.

[7] Including the agri-food industry, the cultural industry or, even more, the new computer technology industry would be among the most interested sectors. According to the Corporate Europe Observatory,

[8] German industrial groups, in particular car manufacturers, are the most interested in this process because they see the opportunity to partially relocate their industry on American territory. The latter strongly modernizes its industrial technology and contains more flexible legislation in the labor field.

[9] The sixth round of negotiations between the United States and the European Union took place in Brussels from July 14 to 18. From October 29 to 3, the seventh round of negotiations will take place in Maryland (USA).

[10] Likewise, the opacity of the negotiations facilitated the election of “ultra liberal” Jean-Claude Junquer to replace José Manuel Durao Barroso at the European Commission. The latter began transatlantic negotiations with the United States in 2013.

[11] http: //www.greenpeace.org/espana/es/Trabajamos-en / …

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