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I'm not clear on the institutional process. Imagine that the EU and the USA sign this. There will be vast domains of economic (and human) activity within the EU which will be subject to  challenge by the US, on grounds of fair trade. There will be some organ of adjudication of claims.

Logically, EU law, and national law, would have to be amended in accordance with the treaty. If the treaty specifies that genetically-modified foodstuffs, or hormone-fed turkeys, are OK, than no entity within the EU would be allowed to ban it.

So the European parliament would have to change all the relevant laws, and every member nation would have to transpose that into national law.

Sorry, I can't see that happening. Not only will it take years, it simply won't go through.

So what's really going to happen? Is there some sort of fast track? Does the treaty automatically re-write our laws for us?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Jan 14th, 2014 at 10:37:18 AM EST
Perhaps this treaty supersedes EU and national law? Like WTO?

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Tue Jan 14th, 2014 at 10:40:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
" Logically, EU law, and national law, would have to be amended in accordance with the treaty. If the treaty specifies that genetically-modified foodstuffs, or hormone-fed turkeys, are OK, than no entity within the EU would be allowed to ban it."

No, it's much "better". Every entity of the EU can ban whatever it pleases and pay compensation for these trade barriers. This is much more attractive than being allowed to sell GM food or hormone-meat and having the problem to make people buy it.

by Katrin on Tue Jan 14th, 2014 at 12:57:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hm, yes.

I think Dean Baker is wrong, although his thoughts were exactly how I thought before today clicking around the Corporate Europe Observatory website. Because up until now, the method has been to do a deal that is as big as possible and try to ram it through while denouncing any opponents as backwards trade opponents.

However, if Corporate Europe Observatory is right in their interpretation of the leaks the US Chamber of Commerce and BusinessEurope has a new strategy. Instead of ramming through a big pile of stinking proposals, they will try to get a new structure in place that will then be used to water down existing regulations and halt new regulations (which also helps in getting around current regulations.

Regulation - none of our business? | Corporate Europe Observatory

Business interests on both sides of the Atlantic are pushing hard to get an institutional structure, an "oversight body", into the agreement, mostly referred to as an EU-US "Regulatory Council". This would be based on a set of rules for regulatory cooperation that would enable the parties to deal with their differences in a more long-term fashion, through procedures that will give business the upper hand. It might very well be that the final TTIP text will not include immediate concessions on public health and environmental regulation. But it could include an approach for the future, giving the basic message to citizens that regulation is none of their business, but first and foremost the business of business. 

Regulatory cooperation is a long term project. It is meant to deal with differences that could not be settled at the negotiating table at the highest level and also to respond to new regulations as they occur. In the course of the negotiations, the parties will see to what extent they can agree on common standards, or recognise each others' standards as basically similar. But in those areas where this is not possible in the short term, they will set up procedures to deal with them in the future. The idea is to make TTIP a "living agreement", not confined to what they can agree on in the first place, but a continuous process of ever deeper integration . That raises the prospect of the parties reaching a conclusion on even the most difficult issues, such as food safety. For corporations  from the EU and US, it raises hopes for better access to each other's markets including in sectors that meet obstacles today, and for that reason it is being promoted vigorously by the business lobbies on both sides of the Atlantic.

That formula has been pushed systematically by the business lobby since 2012; in particular, a proposal on "regulatory cooperation" from BusinessEurope and the US Chamber of Commerce is at the center of the debate (see box below on the two lobby groups).



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by A swedish kind of death on Tue Jan 14th, 2014 at 03:03:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here in the US, they've come to the realization they don't have to ram big legislation through and spend a lot of political capital to do it.  They control the regulatory agencies and can accomplish everything they need there.
by rifek on Sun Jan 19th, 2014 at 07:24:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
responding to "is there some sort of fast track?" I don't know. But as this is a mirror of the TPP agreement for the Pacific states, and there is most definitely a fast track section of that agreement... one might well assume there is one here as well.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Tue Jan 14th, 2014 at 04:17:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The primary purpose of this treaty is, essentially, to clarify the institutional process.  Treaties themselves are institutions that obligate, but don't guarantee, the changing of laws and regulations and ways of doing things among signatory countries. As political economists have noted, the record of the WTO actually leading to major changes among signatories domestic laws and regulations is pretty mixed, even when required by the treaty. Essentially the WTO works as little more than big political endorsement for pro-trade advocates in domestic contests over policies of all kinds, not as a force of law in any way.

But given the long, deep, and comprehensive nature of trade, communications, and investment between Europe and North America, I'm not sure why anyone would think an agreement like this should be opposed, a priori.  Why shouldn't Americans and Europeans get on the same page regarding regulation of commercial activity between them?

by santiago on Fri Jan 17th, 2014 at 01:33:37 PM EST
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Because policymakers on both sides of the Atlantic are sufficiently infected by neoliberal brain rot that any institutional revisions they make are more likely than not to be bad ones.

You generally do not want people who believe in absurd fairie tales to conduct major institutional revisions. That's how you get stupid ideas like Art. 123 written into your constitution.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Jan 17th, 2014 at 01:45:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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