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4/5/15

EU-US Trade Negotiations Not Transparent: New British parliamentary report on TTIP highlights its dangers - by Polly Jones

TTIP
With just a few days left before the British Parliament dissolves ahead of the general election, a flurry of select committees are publishing reports on inquiries which have been held in recent months. Among them is the Business Innovation and Skills Select Committee’s report on the Transatlantic Trade and investment Partnership (TTIP), published yesterday.

I gave evidence to the TTIP inquiry on behalf of Global Justice Now.

TTIP is an ambitious neoliberal trade agreement being negotiated between the EU and USA. Its purpose is to create new trading opportunities for EU and US business by reducing tariffs, removing unnecessary regulation, liberalising some sectors and giving new protection for investors.

The controversy around TTIP is about what regulation is deemed unnecessary, which sectors will be liberalised and that business will benefit at the expense of governments.

The gravity of these concerns has ignited a furious public campaign on TTIP from trade unions, environmental organisations, international development groups and NHS campaigners, united in their call for the negotiations to stop.

The findings of the BIS select committee report vindicate the public’s concerns.

Many of the arguments for TTIP rest on the benefits it will bring to the UK, European and US economy, often breaking this down to a £400 benefit to every UK family every year. The economic models used to churn out these figures are fundamentally flawed (http://blog.policy.manchester.ac.uk/featured/2013/12/the-false-promise-of-eu-us-trade-talks/) and present a best case scenario which would not deliver any benefits until 2027 and then only £2 per person a week - equivalent to a packet of fishfingers.

The 11 British MPs from across the political spectrum find that “it is impossible at this stage to quantify those benefits in any meaningful way”. They are critical of the figures the UK government uses to promote TTIP and instruct it to undertake a comprehensive assessment of the likely economic benefits of various possible outcomes on TTIP.

Read more: New parliamentary report on TTIP highlights its dangers | openDemocracy

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