A leaked document has revealed that unelected European Commission (EC) officials won’t be able to make new trade laws without asking Washington first, if the secretive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) comes into force.
The Document obtained by a campaign group shows that legislation will be influenced before it reaches European Parliament
A secret document obtained by the Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) indicates that the EC will have the power to decide where Brussels should cooperate with the US, while domestic governments and the European Parliament (EP) see power slip away from them.
Details of the leaked document, which were first published in The Independent on Friday, suggest that the EP’s role on the international stage could lessen, according to the CEO. The think tank also says US regulators will take on a dubious role in European trade decisions under so-called “regulatory cooperation.”
EU leaders insist it is just a means of “cutting red tape for EU firms without cutting corners.”
— Nick Dearden (@nickdearden75) March 17, 2016
The CEO believes the leaked document it obtained uncovers the extent to which large corporations and industry groups will be able to influence EU-US trade deals with what are currently called “substantial proposals.”
Speaking to RT on Friday, director of Global Justice Now (GJN) Nick Dearden called it ominous.
“The leak absolutely confirms our fears about TTIP – it’s all about giving big business more power over a very wide range of laws and regulations,” he said.
“In fact, business lobbies are on record as saying they want to co-write laws with governments – this gets them a step closer.”
“This isn’t an ‘add on’ or a small part of TTIP – it’s absolutely central. TTIP is about non-tariff trade barriers. To me and you that means regulation and laws, the vast majority of which aren’t ‘trade barriers’ unless you see society as nothing but a gigantic market place,” Dearden added.
Plans outlined in the document the CEO obtained effectively give US authorities the power to challenge and alter laws that counter America’s interests without accountable democratic debate, according to Dearden.
“We’re talking about sovereignty at the moment in this country – it’s difficult to imagine a more serious threat to our sovereignty than this trade deal,” he said.
TTIP will create the world’s biggest free-trade zone, scrapping tariffs and other obstacles to the trade of goods and services between the US and Europe. Supporters insist the trade deal will encourage investment and create employment, while critics warn it could give too much power to big business.
An Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) clause, central to the agreement, is expected give corporations the power to sue governments when policy-makers introduce regulations affecting profits.
Anti-TTIP campaigners say that the trade deal lacks transparency, impinges on sovereign governments’ right to rule in the public interest, and could result in regulators becoming captured.