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Jobs Minister needs to grip TTIP - Tóibín

4 February, 2015

Sinn Féin TD Peadar Tóibín today sought a Dáil debate on the 8th Round of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations taking place this week between the EU and US in Brussels. The Sinn Féin Jobs Spokesperson accused the Jobs Minister of having taken a back seat on the trade deal that is taking place behind closed doors with potentially devastating effects for workers, farmers and citizens here in Ireland, the EU and US.

Speaking after attending a demonstration held today in Dublin by the People’s Movement calling on the European Union to scrap the TTIP and Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) agreements the Meath West TD said:

“Opposition against TTIP is growing across Europe as farmers, businesses and citizens are informing themselves of the agreement despite the best efforts of the EU Commission to keep the agreement under wraps. What limited information that is in the public domain is thanks to a direct intervention by the European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly who last year opened up 2 investigations into the EU Council and Commission over a lack of transparency around the TTIP negotiations.”

“Of particular concern is the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) clause attached to the TTIP which in effects allows multinationals use secretive arbitration tribunals to sue sovereign states for implementing policy in the public interest that hinders their investment potential and profit. Not only has the Jobs Minister failed to stop the inclusion of this clause he has actively sought its inclusion. In fact this appears to be the only occasion that Richard Bruton has actively engaged in the TTIP negotiations.”

“Promise of jobs and hikes in GDP by US and EU negotiators due not stand up to scrutiny and far from improving the economic lots of citizens the trade deal threatens to cause prolonged and substantial dislocation of EU workers including in Ireland and a decline in wages and conditions.”

“As customs duties between the EU and US are already very low or in many instances non-existent TTIP like other trade agreements currently under negotiation focuses it attentions on liberalisation and harmonising of regulations between the two trading blocs. Where regulatory and employment standards are higher in the EU there is a real fear that harmonising will in effect mean a decline in hard won rights and regulations.”

“Organisations across Europe and indeed in the US have warned that TTIP will lead to a race to the bottom in terms of standards of food production with smaller farmers left unable to compete with American food production standards and practices at odds with many EU countries.”

“During their term in office Labour and Fine Gael Ministers have not taken an active role in trade agreements negotiated on Ireland’s behalf by the EU Commission. EU and US trade combined accounts for 50% of the world’s GDP and about a third of its trade flows, so getting this deal wrong has the potential to cause structural faults in both blocs economies.” 

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