Rainbow warriors from Greenpeace have thrown a spanner in the works of the highly secretive Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) deal currently being hammered out between the United States and Europe. In a 248 page dossier published by Greenpeace Netherlands the organisation has exposed the real dangers this treaty poses to European food safety standards and to the environment globally. Juergen Knirsch, Greenpeace’s trade expert, told a Berlin news conference that they had released the document “to ignite debate,” and considering the power such a treaty will give corporations over citizens and governments more debate – or at least some information – is sorely needed.
In spite of the growing popular concern over TTIP the negotiators in New York and Brussels have continued to keep the details under wraps. According to supporters of the deal the finalised product will deliver more than $100 billion in economic gains on both sides of the Atlantic, but in consideration of the recent trends in economic growth one has to ask: Precisely who will be gaining from this deal when it is completed?
There can be no doubt that TTIP, like the NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreements, embodies the free trade principles of the international neoliberal project; eliminating barriers to trade and profit, reducing state regulations to the same, slashing corporate tax, and enforcing labour market flexibility. A rudimentary understanding of economics is enough to see that this is the perfect recipe for making vast quantities of money. Corporations will have an almost unfettered access to a trans-continental market, and with the help of greater capital mobility the wealth of the world will quite literally fly into their ever growing accounts.
On the face of it this all sounds pretty good, and this is what the corporations themselves and the corporate-owned political establishment would like us to think. ‘Growth’ is what it’s all about, but this sort of economic growth requires the impoverishment of more and more people, and the destruction of workers’ rights. TTIP will only facilitate the acceleration of this stripping of working people on a larger scale. Greenpeace is right in saying that more discussion is needed, and what is needed more than this is action against the strengthening of this aggressive neoliberal plan for global domination.