It is the “Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership”. It is a new model of free trade agreement which is being negotiated between the European Union (EU) and the United States of America (USA), since June of 2013, with the intention of creating the world’s biggest free trade area.
The USA and the European Union are losing economic and political power. Other countries, especially China, are ousting them as bigger economies and direct foreign investment dealers. Therefore, the TTIP aims to consolidate the geopolitical and economic interests and to recover both powers’ protagonism, declaring a commercial war on third parties.
The European Comission negotiates on the part of the European Union; the EU has given it the mandate of negotiations. On the other hand, there is the very USA Government. Anyway, from its beginning, it is the big lobbies from both sides which pressure and participate actively in the negotiations: car, drug, food and agriculture industries; public services, banks, investment funds…
The negotiations are under way without considering the population, in high secrecy about their content, without any participation from or referendum from civil society and, furthermore, with a big lack of information for the governments of the European Union.
Although tariffs between EU and USA are very low, this new model treaty focuses on exemption of all sectors. A legislative harmonization, that is, unifying laws on each side of the Atlantic, is what is desired; all with the purpose of cutting costs and avoiding ‘unnecessary delays’ for corporations. An especially controversial point is the investments protection; any private investor, before unclear international tribunals, will be able to challenge environmental, labour and social laws that interfere with their own profit. For instance, a moratorium for fracking (a very polluting oil or gas extraction technique) or a sanitary regulation for toxic substances could be object of lawsuit and multimillion compensations before the governments.