“Negotiators in Washington, D.C. are working on a trade pact this week, and it isn’t the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Representatives from the United States and the European Union are hammering out the details of a purported trade pact called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Despite its name, this bundle of commercial compromises has little to do with trade and a lot to do with the slow transfer of sovereignty to bodies of globalists outside the United States.
Notably, the men and women chosen to enforce the myriad TTIP provisions will be unelected by the American people and consequently unaccountable to them. This is in direct violation of the Constitution’s grant of sole legislative power to the Congress of the United States.
On December 16, The New American was invited to participate in a telephone press conference discussing troubling details of the TTIP agreement.
To begin the conference, it was admitted that in the official document outlining the deal, the Obama administration has made clear that an agreement will not be chiefly focused on matters related to international trade, but rather “behind-the-border” (read: domestic) policies such as health, environmental, and monetary policy. As with so many of the other panoply of recent trade deals, multinational corporations operating within the United States and the EU are achieving quasi-governmental power and using that authority to limit the ability of U.S. and EU courts to enforce domestic laws, particularly those that the corporate interests deem detrimental to their bottom line.
During the press conference, several civil society groups from the United States and Europe briefed reporters on significant threats to individual liberty lurking within the TTIP.
Leaders with Public Citizen, Sierra Club, Consumer Federation of America, and Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue voiced concerns about the effects of the TTIP on consumer rights, privacy, communities, and the environment.
“U.S. and EU negotiators are clear that their purpose in negotiating [the TTIP] is to remove ‘regulatory barriers’ to trade,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen. “Big Business is clear about what this means; giant corporations hope to use [the TTIP] as a way to roll back or stall a vast swath of consumer and environmental regulatory protections in the United States and Europe — involving everything from food safety to privacy, consumer finance to chemical safety.”
Environmentalists expressed concern about the broad rights granted to corporations through the investment rules in the proposed trade pact. Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune revealed that his organization had sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Michael Froman and European Union Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht in the name of almost 200 likeminded organizations in Europe and the United States opposing a key provision of the TTIP that extends extraordinary power to corporations to invalidate domestic laws they consider contrary to their business interests.
“This pact could jeopardize critical safeguards necessary to protect our families, our communities, and our climate by giving corporations undue rights to use secret tribunals to challenge public interest laws that they disagree with,” said Brune. “As negotiators meet this week, they must keep in mind that governments exist for the benefit of people — not corporations — and keep these dangerous rules out of the pact.”
Consumer groups also called for trade negotiators to uphold and increase privacy rights for Americans and Europeans.
“At a time of increasing commercial and government surveillance of individuals, we need stronger privacy rights on both sides of the Atlantic, not a trade deal that would allow personal information to flow across borders and into private databases and government hands, without adequate constraints,” said Susan Grant, director of consumer protection at Consumer Federation of America. “A vibrant transatlantic marketplace will only be achieved if individuals can trust that their data will be collected and used appropriately, and both partners in these trade negotiations have a long way to go to gain that trust, especially the U.S.”
The participating consumer groups also called for strong protections on shared data, in order to promote the interests of consumers who will be affected by expanded trade.
“Free flow of information around the web is essential to ensure freedom of expression and consumer choice,” said Anna Fielder, senior policy advisor of Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue and chair of the board of Privacy International. “But this does not mean rules on free flows of personal information enforced through trade agreements, at a time when consumer trust is at its lowest due to massive and unwarranted government surveillance. We need speedy adoption of ongoing data protection reforms in the EU before any talk of common privacy standards can begin — and in any case, such standards should be developed outside the trade agreement.”
Although the regulation of the environment, the Internet, and food safety do not fall within the powers granted by the states to the federal government in the Constitution, the endowment of ultra-national bodies of bureaucrats with irrevocable power to rule in these arenas is equally unconstitutional and unwise…..”Twitter