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Italy: ‘People before profits!’ Thousands decry TTIP in Rome
7 May 2016
Tens of thousands took to the streets in Rome, Saturday, to protest against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and the United States.
From daily The Morning Star in Britain:
Tens of thousands rally against TTIP
Monday 9th May 2016
Opponents of secretive EU-US trade deal hit streets of Rome
ITALY’S militant trade union centre, the General Confederation of Labour (CGIL), drew tens of thousands onto the streets of Rome at the weekend to denounce the secretive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) deal between the EU and the US.
Demonstrators gathered in San Giovanni Square held up anti-TTIP banners reading: “American chicken stuffed with hormones on our tables? Stop TTIP.”
Other posters proclaimed: “People before profits” and “Free circulation? For people not capital,” while chanting slogans denouncing the treaty.
Anti-TTIP protesters are convinced that the pact will lead to a deterioration in agricultural practices, as well as damaging the quality of work and services.
“First, because it accelerates privatisation and, second, because big corporations will rule over European governments,” demonstrator Loretta Boni explained.
Some other signs held up by protesters warned: “Nato and TTIP chain us up to wars! No TTIP! No Nato!”
The trade deal has been strongly opposed by millions of Europeans, with hundreds of thousands of protesters taking to the streets in Germany, Belgium, Britain and Spain.
In Germany, the most recent opinion poll conducted by broadcaster ARD revealed that 70 per cent oppose the TTIP trade treaty.
This constitutes a massive fall in support compared to 2014, when a similar poll found just 55 per cent of Germans viewed the deal negatively.
Critics … say that TTIP would place corporate interests above those of nations and workers, arguing that international corporations would be given power at the expense of small and medium-sized businesses.
TTIP opponents have also taken an especially critical stance against genetically modified (GM) crops, as the deal could allow US companies to bypass EU regulations and sell GM products in Europe.
The secrecy surrounding the talks has also drawn strong condemnation.
Greenpeace Netherlands published leaked documents last Tuesday, suggesting that climate protection, jobs, food safety and online privacy rights will be whittled away under the deal.
ITALIAN demonstrator Loretta Boni hits the nail on the head with her opposition to TTIP: “First, because it accelerates privatisation and, second, because big corporations will rule over European governments”: here.
On Sunday, German Economics Minister and Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel expressed major doubts that the free trade agreement between the European Union and the United States, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), would be concluded: here.
Deep economic tensions between the United States and Europe erupted to the surface yesterday, as Paris demanded a cutoff of trade talks between the US and the European Union (EU), and the EU demanded that US tech giant Apple pay billions in back taxes. Two days after German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel criticized the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), French officials called for suspending talks on Washington’s flagship free-trade deal with Europe, bitterly attacking US negotiating tactics: here.
Reblogged this on sdbast.
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Monday 29th August 2016
posted by Morning Star in Britain
by Luke James
BRITISH anti-TTIP campaigners were celebrating a victory yesterday after Germany’s vice-chancellor admitted the controversial US-EU free trade deal is dead in the water.
Sigmar Gabriel, who is Angela Merkel’s deputy and economy minister, said no agreement could be reached on any of the 27 chapters of the proposed deal after 14 rounds of behind-closed-doors bargaining.
He said: “In my opinion the negotiations with the United States have de-facto failed, even though nobody is really admitting it.”
Global Justice Now spokesman Kevin Smith said the capitulation is “testament to the hundreds of thousands of people who took to the streets to protest against TTIP, the three million people who signed a petition calling for it to be scrapped, and the huge coalition of civil society groups, trade unions and activists who came together to stop it.”
Despite the referendum result, advocates of TTIP had hoped to push the deal through Parliament before Britain formally left the EU.
“TTIP would have resulted in a massive corporate power grab, and sovereign democracies across the EU would have been deeply compromised,” he said.”
But Britain remains at risk from a similar deal that has already been struck between the EU and Canada and could be rushed in to British law prior to Brexit.
Mr Smith warned: “So many of the controversial elements of TTIP would effectively come in through the back door with CETA, and people across Europe are already mobilising in large numbers to stop this attempted corporate coup just like they have done with TTIP.”
Separately German Finance Minister Jens Spahn spoke this weekend of his hopes of striking a free trade deal between Britain and the EU post-Brexit.
Tuesday, 30 August 2016
TTIP IS DEAD SAYS GERMAN ECONOMY MINISTER!
BLURTING out the truth, the German economy minister, Sigmar Gabriel, has pronounced the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a free trade deal long being negotiated by the US and EU, and billed as the future for both regions, as being effectively dead.
Gabriel reported that the deal had been subject to 14 rounds of talks that have not produced agreement on a single item contained in the 27 chapters of the draft TTIP agreement. EU leaders are blaming the intransigence of the US government on making any concessions on the deal.
At the heart of this inability to reach agreement is the huge opposition TTIP has generated in the working class across Europe and in the US over its implications. It has also dawned on EU leaders what the deal means. French president Francois Hollande announced in May that he would ‘never accept’ the deal because it would completely destroy the sovereignty of France and the rest of Europe and leave the EU nothing more than a vassal state of the US.
This, of course, was the sole intention of TTIP as far as US capitalism was concerned.
Under the terms being insisted upon by Washington, US corporations would legally be entitled to veto any laws that impinged on their right to exploit Europe and reap super-profits.
It contained provisions that would force governments to privatise everything, including health services, for the benefit of US companies, all of this to be legally enforced by an international court presided over by lawyers and judges drawn from the ranks of these same corporations.
With the leaders of the EU finally recognising that TTIP is the equivalent of cutting their own throats, we can now expect the US to react with fury. This has raised the spectre of an all-out currency war between the EU, Britain and the US.
This was raised immediately after the Brexit vote, which at once caused the pound to drop in price to a 31-year low against the dollar. The euro has similarly dropped in what the US capitalist class sees as the beginnings of a currency war in which countries engage in competitive devaluations to win advantages in important export markets by making their products cheaper.
The harm to US exports has already been felt as their products become more expensive and imports cheaper, increasing the US trade deficit. This has increased since Brexit and now, with TTIP dead in the water, a currency war between the US and EU is inevitable in a ‘beggar-thy-neighbour’ confrontation.
In Britain, the crisis couldn’t be worse. As prime minister David Cameron was the main cheerleader for TTIP in the EU, he represented a bankrupt British capitalist class that saw their salvation in becoming a vassal state of US capitalism. After Brexit, they are now calling for a separate agreement with Washington, a TTIP ‘on steroids’ it has been called.
But, as Obama made clear during the referendum campaign, the only use Britain is to the US was as its puppet promoting the interests of American capitalism in the EU. Now it can no longer function in this way it will be cast aside in the developing economic war.
The importance of a currency war is that it inevitably brings much closer a real war. This shines a light on the recent clamouring by leaders of the EU countries for the creation of an independent EU army and the demand last week by the ex-head of the British navy, Admiral West, for Britain to urgently build up its armed forces to meet ‘existential’ threats.
The existential threats are rapidly turning out to be the fight between rival capitalist nations for survival as their economies are smashed up by the world crisis of their system. This is capitalism today – nation states fighting for survival and declaring war on one another while waging war on their own working class and at the same time making war on the ex-colonial countries for their resources.
Wednesday 31st August 2016
posted by Morning Star in World
‘The Americans give nothing or just crumbs,’ says minister
by James Tweedie
FRANCE called a halt to talks on the secretive TTIP trade deal yesterday as the US was offering “just crumbs” in return for surrendering sovereignty.
French junior trade minister Matthias Fekl said there was “no more political support in France” for the talks between the European Union and Washington.
“The Americans give nothing or just crumbs … That is not how negotiations are done between allies,” Mr Fekl said.
President Francois Hollande was more guarded but told a meeting of France’s diplomatic corp that agreement was unlikely before the end of the year.
“France would rather see things as they are and not harbour the illusion that an agreement will be struck before the end of the US president’s term in office.”
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership has drawn criticism from trade unions, environmentalists, consumer groups and others.
Its investor-state dispute settlement clauses allow foreign firms to sue governments if legislation affects on their profits.
Germany’s vice-chancellor and economy minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Sunday: “The talks with the US have de facto failed because we Europeans of course must not succumb to American demands … Nothing is moving forward.”
But European Union Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem insisted yesterday there was life in TTIP yet.
“They have been difficult, of course, we knew from the beginning, but they have not failed,” she said.
Anti-poverty campaign War on Want called on European governments to “terminate” TTIP and other dodgy trade deals.
Senior trade campaigner Mark Dearn said: “It’s about time an EU government stepped up to the plate and listened to the people of Europe, who have unequivocally said in their millions that they want nothing to do with TTIP.”
But, he said: “Opposing TTIP rings a little hollow when the same EU governments are still trying to force through the ‘Canadian TTIP’, Ceta [Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement], which could allow tens of thousands of North American corporations to sue the UK for up to 20 years after Brexit.”
“Despite senior French and German politicians — as well as the UK Labour Party — coming out against TTIP, the European Commission is keeping up its TTIP spin operation.
“Governments must now come together to declare that TTIP and Ceta will be terminated.”
posted by Morning Star in World
by James Tweedie
ENVIRONMENTALISTS and transport unions warned yesterday that the looming Tisa trade deal would endanger the environment and make the seas and skies “lawless.”
Greenpeace Netherlands and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) released a leaked revised draft of Tisa (Trade in Services Agreement) yesterday, pointing out that the deal would put the Paris climate agreement “in a straitjacket.”
“Like the TPP, TTIP and Ceta treaties before it, Tisa promises to drive deregulation and reduce national sovereignty to support global trade,” a Greenpeace report into the treaty’s energy annex said.
Greenpeace Netherlands international TTIP campaign leader Susan Cohen Jehoram, said: “This leak shows that Tisa, like other trade deals, includes measures that tie the hands of the very policy-makers who are trying to implement the Paris climate agreement.”
The environmental campaigning organisation’s analysis of the leaked documents paints a worrying picture of the pact currently being negotiated in strict secrecy between 23 parties, including the United States and the European Union, in Geneva.
Government regulation will be harder to achieve after a “standstill” has been agreed, meaning that no stricter rules would be allowed.
A “ratchet” clause means that vital services such as energy, water and education cannot be renationalised once privatised.
Democratic oversight and the ability of democratically elected governments to regulate would be restricted, as corporate actors would have a say in drafting and inhibiting new regulations that would challenge their interests.
The ITF warned that Tisa posed a threat to the International Labour Organisation and the International Maritime Organisation, which oversee global employment, technical and safety standards in maritime transport, and would have the same effect on civil aviation.
It said weak state control left a space for illegal and unregulated operators who put workers’ safety and the environment at risk.
ITF policy co-ordinator Sarah Finke told the press conference: “Even without Tisa, liberalisation and deregulation is already extreme in maritime transport.
“With Tisa, the global standards set by the proper international bodies could be undermined.
“Unless the text is changed, it will constitute an attack on those very necessary minimum standards — and threaten livelihoods of maritime workers everywhere,” she added.
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