EU-US trade deal: Written by the banks for the banks


19 February 2014

It's not hard to work out who is behind the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). With its hugely undemocratic and dangerous provisions that will enable corporations to sue governments for defending their citizens, the clues are blatantly obvious that this EU-US trade deal is about strengthening the rights of corporations to profits – above all else. Whether it’s in healthcare, environment or energy, big companies are set to profit from the rules being rewritten in their favour.

This is music to the ears of the financial sector who have been fighting tooth and nail against attempts to regulate in both the US and the EU since the financial crisis. TTIP presents a prime opportunity for the financial sector to free-ride off this agenda of deregulation and liberalisation.

Protest outside the European Parliament in Brussels

The proposed rules on the negotiating table would forbid regulations that limit the number of investments or financial services suppliers, and/or limit the total value and number of their transactions or operations. This has huge ramifications for not just for citizens of the EU and US but around the world. For example, speculative-fuelled food price spikes in recent years has created widespread food insecurity especially in developing countries. Potential TTIP rules could undermine the  recent victory that WDM campaigners and European allies have won on new regulation to tackle food speculation. Hard fought for 'position limits' which are intended to limit the amount of food contracts that traders can hold and therefore limit speculative activity, could contravene these proposed rules in TTIP.

The British banking lobby group, The CityUK has been embarking on an international road-show to promote its proposals for TTIP.  In a report-back of its US-version of the event, one of the CityUK's leading lobbyists was pleased at how the European commission's proposal on financial services for TTIP “reflected so closely the approach of TheCityUK that a bystander would have thought it came straight out of our brochure on TTIP.”

With claims like this, it is definitely no secret who is writing the rules and for whose benefit. The European Commission's proposals call for the inclusion of financial regulation into TTIP negotiations. This would open the door for 'harmonising' banking rules, in other words working towards the weakest regulatory standards and reversing years of legislative efforts to regulate the financial sector. The EU and US negotiators met this week to review progress on the trade talks and the EU continues to remain adamant that financial regulation remains in the negotiations, in spite of US opposition.

This trade deal will enhance corporate profit at the expense of public interest. It is dangerous and undemocratic and needs to be stopped in its tracks. Take action and ask your MP to demand full transparency on the TTIP negotations and to oppose this agressive new trade deal.

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