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There are plenty of a priori reasons to oppose anything brokered by EPP-PES. Particularly anything they've brokered with the US State Department.

But we are also far enough along the process that we do not actually need to make any decision a priori. There's plenty of data to go by in the conduct of the process alone, and all that data points toward the proverbial fix being in.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Jan 17th, 2014 at 01:54:41 PM EST
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I don't know. It looks like a lot of Dean Baker's concerns have been dealt with already or are being dealt with as advocates make enough noise to get them on the agenda, as its supposed to work.  For example, according the EU's negotiators,"

"ISDS is not about giving unlimited rights to multinationals to challenge any legislative measure taken by sovereign states in any area of regulation. Under TTIP, investors will not be compensated with taxpayers' money just because of a fall in profits due to a change in the law. Nor will it be possible for investors to override bans of practices like fracking. (emphasis mine)"
by santiago on Fri Jan 17th, 2014 at 03:19:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by das monde on Fri Jan 17th, 2014 at 03:29:12 PM EST
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There are three major red flags for me in this proposal.

The first is the subordination of regulators to "independent," so-called, third party arbitration. Regulators are fundamentally political control functions, and as such should answer first and last to parliament.

The second is the clear intent to further restrict states from imposing conditions upon cross-border money and security market activities. This is a clear destabilizing influence, because whatever they are in life, financial market players are very much national in death. The ability to restrict the movement of money across borders is therefore a vital national security matter.

Finally, I always keep a hand on my wallet and an eye on my constitution whenever somebody mentions "technical barriers to trade," or words to that effect. In the context of the European Union, this is almost always an attempt by the trade branch of the EU bureaucracy to usurp powers traditionally held by the regional development, consumer protection, or interoperability standards branches. And since the trade branch has a materially greater concentration of swivel-eyed neoliberal crazies, this is normally not a good thing.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Jan 17th, 2014 at 06:02:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ISDS is not about giving unlimited rights to multinationals to challenge any legislative measure taken by sovereign states in any area of regulation. Under TTIP, investors will not be compensated with taxpayers' money just because of a fall in profits due to a change in the law. Nor will it be possible for investors to override bans of practices like fracking.

When I read a statement like this my base assumption is that it is misleading, misdirecting public relations blather:

*ISDS is not about giving unlimited rights to multinationals... Translation: Well, yes. They will be given almost unlimited rights.

*investors will not be compensated with taxpayers' money just because of a fall in profits due to a change in the law. Translation: Put 'just' in bold.

*Nor will it be possible for investors to override bans of practices like fracking. True! That is what all of the rented politicians are for.

There should be an award for beneficial candor regarding public affairs from a public official. The inaugural award should go to Jean-Claude-Juncker for his statement: "When it is serious you have to lie." How do you tell if it is serious? If it involves $billions that oligarchs can make by fleecing the public and/or polluting the commons it is very serious.

The ancient Greeks had the tradition that any citizen could scratch someone's name on a pottery shard, or 'ostrakon' and drop it in a depository. With a sufficient number of such 'votes' the designated person would have to leave the city or commit suicide. Were there such an option today most of our leaders would, quite deservedly, fall victim.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Jan 18th, 2014 at 12:58:10 AM EST
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This seems like the right place to reply overall - here are my reasons to oppose this, a priori:

  1. Assurances like the above have been part of many recent treaty negotiations - in each case they have turned out to be false.

  2. There is every reason to believe that the US will use influence with smaller EU states, esp. the more recently joined ones, to disrupt opposition in Europe to things it would like to see dismantled - REACH is an obvious target.

So while the "trade blocs" appear to be of equal power, the US has a significant tactical power advantage.

3) I won't repeat all of Jake's reasons, although they all seem worthy of consideration - but I'll add that there are specific provisions not only around "freeing up finance" but also "freeing up health care for US investment" and of course the ongoing issue of GM foods.

I guess what I'm saying is, as a European, with relatively good knowledge of the quality of the people involved on the negotiation on the European side, I can see no way this trade deal is in any way likely to benefit Europeans in total.

A final point for reference, this legislation could make my business life much easier, I wrestle regularly with the arcane US rules on imports. Still, I can still see how overall, it's unlikely to benefit me as a European...

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sat Jan 18th, 2014 at 02:19:03 PM EST
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The EU's negotiators wrote that with a shovel.  The US isn't even pretending about that.
by rifek on Sun Jan 19th, 2014 at 08:31:55 PM EST
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