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I have no philosophical objection to free trade, as such. However, I have a philosophical, social and ecological preference for goods and services which are produced as close as possible to the consumer.

These two positions are not contradictory; everything is in the definition of the "level playing field".

To wit: In many situations, transnational corporations have huge unfair advantages over locally- or nationally-based enterprises. They will naturally have advantages in terms of economy of scale, sourcing, vertical integration etc, but the absence of any effective international tax regime gives them the opportunity for "fiscal optimisation" i.e. tax avoidance, thereby making them more profitable than (and capable of underbidding) any enterprise working within a given national fiscal structure.

Insofar as the treaty proposes giving supplementary rights to transnational entities (whether they be European-based entities trading in the US, US-based entities trading in the EU, or third parties), I oppose any such concessions being made, at least until such time as an adequate international tax code has been implemented. If not, then the treaty will have the effect of allowing transnationals to crowd out local operators, offshoring their profits and thus avoiding contributing their share to the communities in which they do business.

Increasing penetration of foreign-based and particularly transnational enterprises into any national economic space inevitably leads to increasing pressure from local businesses for lower rates of company tax. This demand is only natural, and perfectly just; they are in competition but the playing field is not level.

Therefore, treaties which favour such increased penetration will inevitably place downward pressure on national governments' tax resource, both directly from a reduced tax take (through international tax avoidance) and indirectly, by increasing political pressure for lower rates on national enterprises.

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

by eurogreen on Wed Jul 2nd, 2014 at 10:32:49 AM EST


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