Green parties on both sides of Atlantic slam new trade deal

green party earthflowerConnor Beaton reports at The Targe:

Green parties on both sides of the Atlantic have issued a joint statement on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a proposed free trade deal between the United States and European Union.

Spokespersons for the Green Party of England and Wales and Green Party of the US said the provisions of the deal would undermine democracy.

Andrew Cooper, who is standing in the European elections as a Green candidate for Yorkshire and the Humber, said the free trade agreement “will mean state elected representatives are in the back pocket of multinational companies. It will mean the corporate capture of democratic states.”

Citing reports about the healthcare implications of the deal, for which ‘secretive’ negotiations are ongoing, he said: “Top of the agenda is the destruction of the NHS as a state-owned body, leading to an increasingly privatised and individual insurance-based system.”

“And the TTIP covers much more besides,” Cooper added. “It provides the right to giant corporations to sue our government over imagined profits lost to them through government laws. Imagine Monsanto suing the UK because the population does not want GMOs. Government rules still enforce this but corporations could sue – in unaccountable private courts – for billions in taxpayers money!”

Speaking for the Green Party of the US, former Democratic Party congresswoman Cynthia McKinney said: “First and foremost, the TTIP is focussed on profit generation for the benefit of owners and shareholders of large multinational corporations. It will do this through lowering labour costs and removing tariffs. This won’t be to the general benefit of citizens.

“The TTIP will bring substantial reductions in tax revenues at a significant cost to the public good, greater job insecurity and a ‘race to the bottom’ in labour standards, safety, environmental regulation and consumer protection.”

Little was known about the provisions of the TTIP trade deal until a draft treaty dated July 2013 was leaked in March by German newspaper Die Zeit, prompting a large-scale backlash from alter-globalisation activists.

The treaty limits the extent to which national governments can regulate business and the economy, and allows corporations to sue governments directly for legislation that is seen to contravene the treaty provisions.

The Scottish Green manifesto includes a commitment to oppose TTIP.

Dave Schwab

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