Workers of the world unite against the new generation of trade deals

No TTIPDavid Cameron’s ringing endorsement at the G20 of the proposed EU-US trade deal, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), was perhaps predictable but also has opened up the topic of TTIP and its like to greater public awareness. Until Brisbane discussion of this new generation of multi-lateral trade agreements was very much a topic for aficionados.

From opening up TTIP to public debate we can hopefully unspin the web of secret negotiations that are taking place more or less across the planet that are seeking to bind the peoples of the world into an all-encompassing corporate friendly, neo-liberal settlement.

As well as TTIP, currently the Labour movement should also be concerned about the proposed EU agreement with Canada, CETA; a multilateral agreement on trade in services, TISA; and, a parallel deal that the US is trying to construct in the Pacific Basin, with the exclusion of China, TPP. Continue reading

The conflict between workers’ rights and “free trade”

:free trade - it's not workingIn his ‘State of the Union’ address in February 2013 President Obama announced that he was opening talks with the European Union with the aim of signing a Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP), in other words a free trade agreement covering two of the world’s largest trading blocs. Although many of the aspects of such a deal may seem quite benign – mutual recognition of the regulatory framework in each bloc covering the licensing of new goods and services – there are other issues that are quite frightening.

For example, it is reported that the TTIP would establish in law the right of multinational corporations to sue nation states in a special court – the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) – if the nation’s regulatory framework were deemed a “barrier” to free trade. As late as January 2014 campaigners, including the TUC, were still working for the exclusion of the ISDS from the treaty. In a letter to treaty negotiators the campaigners said: Continue reading