EU Trade related News and Resources, Newsletter 4, December 2015

Pressure from US negotiators in TTIP in 2013 led to dropping of planned EU legislation to restrict unhealthy pesticides

According to documents quoted by the British newspaper the Guardian and recently obtained by Pesticides Action Network (PAN) Europe, the U.S. Mission to Europe and the American Chambers of Commerce solicited EU officials to abandon their intention of restricting the use of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) during a visit to Europe in July 2013. On the same day, the EU officials ordered in a letter to the environment department’s director Karl Falkenberg to drop the legislation, planned for 2014. Despite an estimation of US$165 billion in health costs to European countries from endocrine-related illnesses such as IQ loss, obesity and cryptorchidism, the legislation has then been postponed until at least 2016.

The Great ISDS & TTIP Quiz

Try your luck and knowledge out with this fun interactive quiz on ISDS and TTIP. It’s a great introduction to the controversial Investor to State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) that is one of the most contentious parts of the proposed TTIP EU-US trade deal. SOMO and TNI launched this new quiz on ISDS & TTIP.  The quiz is intended to increase everyone’s critical knowledge of ISDS and TTIP.

Transnational Institute publishes report ‘FTA’s, a threat to public services’

Giant services corporations are using free trade agreements such as TTIP and CETA, to push for a radical opening up of health, water, cultural and postal services to expand corporate profiteering. Those in charge of EU trade negotiations are rolling out the red carpet, threatening the future of public services available to all.

New study ‘TTIP and COP21 shaped by same big business interests’

What do the UN climate talks in Paris this December and the ongoing EU-US trade negotiations, TTIP, have in common? Both look set to create deals that work for big business and dirty industry, but threaten people and the planet and undermine the fight for climate justice. The same profit hungry multinationals and their lobby groups pushing TTIP’s corporate power-grab are also intent on wrecking the climate. As a result, shareholders and chief executives will continue to line their pockets whilst trashing our communities and their environments.

President of European Parliament accepted over 3 million signatures of EU citizens to halt the TTIP and CETA negotiations 

Martin Schulz, the president of the European Parliament, accepted the Stop TTIP ECI signatures during a handover action in Berlin. He was clearly impressed by the large number of signatures (3,284,289) and made two promises: First, he wants to personally ask the European Parliament’s Petition Committee to assess whether the Stop TTIP ECI will be given a public hearing in the European Parliament. Secondly, he referred to the EU-Canada agreement CETA in its current form as problematic and called on the European Commission to begin renegotiations with Canada’s new government.

The Stop TTIP campaign team are preparing to submit the signatures to the European Council of Trade Ministers dealing with trade issues. Some EU Member States will also be approached.

We must abolish ISDS, says UN expert

Alfred de Zayas, the United Nations independent expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, calls for the abolishment of the investor-state dispute settlement. It put companies’ rights ahead of human rights causing devastating effects for developing nations.

In an article published by the Guardian he reflects on the recent case of Philip Morris that sued Uruguay after it adopted a number of anti-tobacco regulations with a view to implementing the 2003 World Health Organisation’s framework convention on tobacco control. A decision from the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes is expected later in 2015, but the figures are telling: Philip Morris is claiming $25m in compensation from Uruguay.

Comparing States’ treatment of businesses and associations worldwide

In this report, Maina Kiai’s, UN Special Rapporteur compares the enabling environments that States, multilateral organizations and other actors create for businesses and associations, and highlights instances where they are treated inequitably. The Special Rapporteur has found that States and others often impose more burdensome regulation upon associations, both in law and in practice, with businesses receiving more favourable treatment. The net result is that for businesses the enabling environment — defined broadly as action or inaction by States and other actors to promote a particular non-State sector — is typically much better than it is for associations.

Private funding and corporate influence moving the United Nations into the wrong direction according to new study

A recent study published by Global Policy Forum concludes that a continuation of the existing funding patterns without improved over-sight and governance will draw the UN further from its original and ongoing purpose and further from democratic governance. It is time for the UN to think twice. If the trends and practices analysed in this study continue on their present track, they risk giving the UN stamp of approval and legitimacy to many initiatives not framed and shaped by UN values and standards of inclusiveness. These trends will not only continue to weaken global (economic) governance, they will endorse the replacement of a UN value-based framework for governance with a voluntary one, characterized by a hotchpotch of ad hoc deals that favour brand and image management over durable programmes that ad-vance human rights and promote economic development founded on a true understanding of ecological sustainability.

Download full report here (PDF, 2,5 MB)

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