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At the European Youth Event 2016

The proposed free trade agreement between the USA and Europe, are you for or against the trade deal?

European Youth Event 2016

At the European Youth Event 2016 on Saturday, 21st of May, young people from 22 different EU member states were given the chance to vocalize their views and opinions on TTIP (The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) at “USA – Europe: Big deal or no deal debate”.

Young people reminded the panel that tens of thousands of European citizens took to the streets against it and more than 2.5 million signatures against the trade deal were offered to the European Commission. Young people also raised concern that TTIP is a direct threat to our Democracy, the environment, consumers and workers’ rights and humanity as a whole.

The most controversial part of TTIP is ISDS; Investor-State Dispute Settlement which will make it possible for companies to sue Governments that damage their investments and allow a secret global court to create disputes between multinationals and countries they operate in.

The court meets none of the accepted standards of a judiciary and has a power to force Governments to changes laws or pay huge sums in compensation to companies if anything stands in their way of affecting profits.

This was raised by a young person at the debate to the panel, one member of the panel from Friends of the Earth also raised this issue. A response from one of the panel members was that this is not part of the deal (ISDS; Investor-State Dispute Settlement) and won’t happen. However I personally feel that this was a direct lie towards us at the debate, with so much of the trade deal being debated in secret, taking place behind closed doors. Leaked documents online have proved to us that if TTIP goes through (ISDS; Investor-State Dispute Settlement) will be a part of the secret trade deal.

As the US and EU continue to secretly debate the controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), talks aren’t only taking place behind closed doors. Frustrations are also being aired online, according to emails obtained by Politico. An email sent on Friday and obtained by the website shows the European Commission warning the 28 EU ambassadors in Brussels that there will be no TTIP deal unless Washington changes its approach to negotiations.

The email expresses the Commission’s concern that “the EU has not seen substantial progress in areas of significant importance to EU agriculture, such as geographical indications, wine and non-tariff barriers.” However, an internal Commission briefing shared with EU ambassadors and obtained by Politico shows that the European Union has its own concerns over the possible removal of tariffs. The document cites “substantial gains for US agriculture if tariffs and some non-tariff barriers are fully removed by the EU side.

In the applied scenarios the US is a clear winner in trade in agricultural products in TTIP.” The TTIP has been controversial since it was first proposed. Backers, including US President Barack Obama, stress that it would create the world’s largest free-trade zone, claiming the more integrated marketplace would help small businesses by opening up markets and making customs processes easier. They also say it would reduce trade tariffs on products. However, many Europeans say the TTIP would place corporate interest above national interest, stressing that international corporations would be given power at the expense of small and medium-sized businesses. The secrecy surrounding the talks has also come under fierce criticism.

In order for the TTIP to come into force, all 28 EU member states and the European Parliament would have to ratify it – a possibility which seems increasingly unlikely. Negotiations on the deal have so far consisted of 13 rounds of talks over the course of three years. So I ask is this system where a few investment lawyers decide over billions of tax payer’s money a protection of our business interests or a direct threat to our Democracy?

I personally call for a no deal on TTIP. I feel we should not allow Europe to give up its right to self-determination and allow big business to take over our Democracy and rights as human beings.

Written by Dylan Matten.

Read about the build up to the event.

 

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