Demands for tax justice have resounded worldwide, with growing anger at the tax practices of corporations such as Google and Starbucks. Yet trade and investment agreements are already constraining the ability of governments to impose fair tax deals and with the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) this could become worse.
Why should human rights, environmental and consumer advocate organizations all over the world that are working toward a world different from the corporate-led neoliberal dogma, pay special attention to TTIP?
Pietje Vervest, Timothé Feodoroff, Giorgina Garibotto et al.
06 March 2014
A briefing that explores how a trade agreement currently being negotiated between the US and the EU could open the way to multi-billion euro lawsuits from companies wanting to expand “fracking” for shale gas and oil.
Investment protection and investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanisms are perhaps the most contentious aspects of TTIP and CETA. These mechanisms provide foreign investors with the right to sue the EU or its Member States in private tribunals over potential losses in profit due to current or new public welfare regulations.
The investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) clause present in many trade treaties give investors far-reaching protection, curtailing governments’ ability to regulate for progressive agrarian and agricultural policies and reinforcing the notion of land as a commodity.
This briefing analyses leaked proposals for so-called investor-state dispute settlement under the proposed EU-US deal and reveals a determined lobby campaign from industry lobby groups and law firms to grant unprecedented rights to corporations to sue governments for legislation and regulations that interfere with their profits.
The European Commission recently issued two papers to address growing concerns among civil society and the wider general public over inclusion of the increasingly controversial investor-state dispute settlement mechanism (ISDS) in the EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Protection agreement (TTIP). The Seattle to Brussels Network responds to the arguments and the Commission’s proposals to amend the flaws in the ISDS system.
For a TTIP resolution that puts people, the environment and democracy before short-term profit and disproportionate corporate rights. 375 civil society organisations from across Europe call on EU decision-makers to protect citizens, workers, and the environment from the threats it poses.
In both TTIP and CETA food, agriculture, animal husbandry and horticulture play a major role and the prospects for European farmers and consumers are not good. TTIP negotiators are discussing abolishing or lowering import tariffs for agricultural products and the mutual recognition of each others’ standards relating to environment, animal welfare, food safety and labour rights is on the agenda.
Corporations, backed by lawyers, use international investment agreements to scavenge for profits by suing Europe’s crisis countries. While speculators making risky investments are protected, ordinary people have no such protection and – through harsh austerity policies – are being stripped of basic social rights.
A small club of international law firms, arbitrators and financial speculators are fuelling an investment arbitration boom that is costing taxpayers billions of dollars and preventing legislation in the public interest.
The aggressive agenda of services corporations, with regards to TTIP and CETA, pushes for far-reaching market opening in areas such as health, cultural and postal services, and water, which would allow them to enter and dominate the markets. Those in charge of EU trade negotiations are rolling out the red carpet for the services industry, with CETA and TTIP reflecting the wishlist of corporate lobbyists.
Leaked TTIP documents show the EU is promoting unrestricted trade in fossil fuels and working to limit the implementation of clean energy policies, just months after the bloc proudly claimed to have “been at the forefront of international efforts towards a global climate deal”