The TTIP may be the trade deal of the century but who will be the winners and losers? Maybe ordinary people like you and me
In recent weeks and months, you may have just about heard enough in the media of something referred to as TTIP. While it may be clear to those of the establishment and media, it is not to everyday people. For us, as funny as it might seem, it does sound like a strange recently released rival to PG Tips.
Having done a bit of research myself, TTIP (Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership) is a deal between Europe and the US to ease the rules governing free trade between the two areas of the world. You may now be thinking what does that have to do with me? Quite a lot actually.
Not only could TTIP increase the risk of further privatisation of the NHS to companies based in the US, it would also bring many of our trade regulations, including those around food standards, banking regulations (which are actually tighter in the US than most US companies but would mean relaxation in their banking system) and so much more to a looser standard.
In particular, this would mean that many EU-member countries are preparing for a massive loss of jobs down to the deal, presumably due to outsourcing some services to the US. In this case, many countries have back-up plans, however, having been through at least two years of negotiations, it is hard not to see why this deal is dangerous. One such element of the agreement would allow most companies to take legal action over their country’s government if they can prove that a government policy directly led to lost profits (that’s money, not the 2000s music band by a similar name). While I may not approve of everything that the government does, this could potentially open the floodgates to lawsuits the world over.
While I would hope that it would be used responsibly if the deal were to be passed as European Law, it is worrying that such a deal would allow Internet Service Providers such as BT to view detailed information on an individual’s browsing activities. While I accept that this would, in some ways, aid law enforcement, it could still be at risk of misuse and no doubt, bring about another outrage like that of when a certain Edward Snowden revealed GCHQ and the US NSA.
Unfortunately, the benefits of the deal to ordinary people are unclear as the EU seem to say one thing and then another. While this may be a case of media bias, I did read in one article that it will increase jobs and decrease the cost of living, while in another I read exactly the opposite. On the other hand, most media outlets agree that it is a way to ‘cut red tape’, a term usually used in relation to health and safety. Despite this, while it is made out to seem beneficial for all, it is really only beneficial to the US.
Not only has it caused a stir across Europe, it has seemingly caused confusion and differences of opinion in the UK Government, with central government supporting the deal while individual departments have gone on to denounce any support for it.
This is a major step for the US and Europe, its biggest ever concerning trade, however, it faces fierce opposition from two million people in Europe and risks endangering not only the health of European people but also the health of the world’s economy. This, while I do see a small benefit in freeing up trade, I think is bad news. I do not like the idea of being spied on when I am innocent, having my healthcare supplied by foreign companies or the bigger risk of sending the US, if not many parts of the world, into another banking scandal.
If you would like to know more, please visit War On Want at this link (http://www.waronwant.org/) where there are many petitions in support of opposing this trade agreement. After writing a whole article on it, it is still confusing to me, however, I hope I have helped you understand a bit about the huge issue; so, do we have a deal or do I need to negotiate for two years?