19 May 2014
A joint statement by prominent members of the Green Party of England and Wales and the Green Party of the United States of America, supported by European allies, is issued today centred on the TTIP (the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership).
The TTIP is set to become the world's biggest trade deal and is currently being negotiated by America and the European Union. (Also referred to as TAFTA, the Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement). (1)
The secretive deal being negotiated at EU level includes UK Coalition Government representatives and is reported to have healthcare at the top of its agenda. (2) Typically this would be presented as a 'need' to harmonise provision across the board while leading to greater privatisation and on the demand for payment for healthcare services. America’s insurance-based model is very costly and provision is based on how much you can pay. Britain’s healthcare is almost free, and paid for in the background by tax.
“The TTIP is a huge trade deal and a huge threat to democracy. 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,” said Andrew Cooper, speaking for the Green Party of England and Wales, and who is standing for Europe for the Yorkshire and Humber region.
One key provision, the ISDR, or Investor-State Dispute Resolution mechanism, means corporations can sue governments, outside of normal courts, and demand reparations for profits they have been unable to make because of state regulations.
“And the TTIP covers much more besides,” Mr Cooper continued. “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! Imagine big tobacco suing Britain for not allowing public advertising for their toxic product – they could sue for billions of tax pounds – in addition to the thousands of lives tobacco costs us.”
Speaking for the Green Party of America, 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.”
Already the nuclear industry is suing the German government over their promise to phase out nuclear power over the coming years, after the triple meltdown at Fukushima in 2011.
“This 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,” Andrew Cooper concludes.