Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Trade and Diaspora, Seán Crowe TD, attended a special GUE/NGL conference in Brussels today, which focused on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
The TTIP is a proposed deep and comprehensive free trade agreement between the US and EU, which is being negotiated at the moment, but there are serious concerns over the impact it will have on the environment, agriculture, workers’ rights and socio-economic development.
A key part of the conference was the launch and discussion of a study commissioned by GUE/NGL which found considerable downside risks associated with removing remaining trade tariffs and very few actual economic gains from TTIP in terms of GDP, jobs, and real wages.
Deputy Crowe said:
“It was great to take part in this conference on behalf of Sinn Féin and to discuss concerns over the TTIP with our European partners in the GUE/NGL group.
“Due to the secrecy surrounding the TTIP negotiations it’s extremely difficult to get unbiased information about what’s happening, largely due to the exclusion of civil society groups, which is extremely worrying.
“There is a complete lack of any scrutiny beyond the disingenuous headline of supposed benefits of the trade worth €500 billion.
“In fact the TTIP is primarily about deregulation and it will inevitably lead to a watering down, or the outright removal, of existing hard won rights and regulations in the EU.
“This would mean the rolling back of decades of gains in social and environmental protections and it would pose a serious threat to consumer health, public health, and environmental safety.
“The GUE/NGL study which was launched and discussed at this conference also strongly criticises the proposal for an investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism as part of TTIP, as it could lead to governments abstaining from enacting regulation that ran counter to multinationals' interests. Such a mechanism could see governments having to pay compensation to multinationals with taxpayers' money.
“Another worrying aspect of the study is that it finds that TTIP will actually reduce trade between EU countries by up to 30% as EU countries' exports won't be able to compete with increased levels of cheap imports from the US.
“Sinn Féin will continue to work with our GUE/NGL partners in opposing these measures and ensuring that the EU maintains and improves its regulations and protections in these areas.”