By Robert A. Vella
In recent years, analysis of existing and proposed trade agreements (e.g. NAFTA, TPP) have led to a growing conclusion that the underlying purpose of such ‘free trade’ deals is the surreptitious replacement of democracy and national sovereignty with a global corporatist authority. When these suspicions first arose, they were widely derided as “conspiratorial,” “delusional,” and “paranoid.” But now, after seeing the actual effects of free trade as well as specific details on new trade proposals, this conclusion is at the forefront of a massive opposition movement which includes mainstream academic, journalistic, political, and regional business professionals.
Today, the environmental activist group Greenpeace leaked confidential documents to the press regarding the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) currently being negotiated between the U.S. and Europe. It reveals an aggressive push by U.S. leaders towards globalism, corporatism, and away from the right of ordinary people to determine their own destiny.
From The New York Times – Greenpeace Leaks U.S.-E.U. Trade Deal Documents:
LONDON — The Dutch chapter of the environmental activist group Greenpeace leaked on Monday a trove of documents from the talks over a proposed trade deal between the European Union and the United States.
The documents, Greenpeace said, showed that American trade negotiators had pressed their European counterparts to loosen important environmental, consumer protection and other provisions.
Greenpeace accused the American negotiators of trying to weaken environmental protection standards; of taking a laxer approach to product regulation than the Europeans; and of trying to give corporate lobbyists greater say in decision-making.
“These leaked documents confirm what we have been saying for a long time: T.T.I.P. would put corporations at the center of policy making, to the detriment of environment and public health,” said Jorgo Riss, director of Greenpeace E.U. “We have known that the E.U. position was bad, now we see the U.S. position is even worse. A compromise between the two would be unacceptable.”
The Sierra Club said the documents showed that the Americans were proposing to allow corporations to “petition” for the repeal of a regulation if it was “more burdensome than necessary to achieve its objective,” given its impact on trade, and that the Europeans had proposed allowing certain environmental standards to be deemed “technical barriers to trade,” which would, perhaps, weaken labels that require the climate footprint of a product or service to be disclosed.
The group also warned that the text included trade rules that could be used against “buy local” programs that support local clean-energy jobs in nearly two dozen American states.
From The Guardian – Leaked TTIP documents cast doubt on EU-US trade deal:
US proposals include an obligation on the EU to inform its industries of any planned regulations in advance, and to allow them the same input into EU regulatory processes as European firms.
American firms could influence the content of EU laws at several points along the regulatory line, including through a plethora of proposed technical working groups and committees.
“Before the EU could even pass a regulation, it would have to go through a gruelling impact assessment process in which the bloc would have to show interested US parties that no voluntary measures, or less exacting regulatory ones, were possible,” Riss said.
The US is also proposing new articles on “science and risk” to give firms greater regulatory say.
Concerning the motives of neoliberal U.S. leaders, I contend they are operating under a desperate cold war mentality which sees western capitalistic hegemony as threatened by rising economic strength in Asia (i.e. China, Russia) and by social destabilization in key resource regions such as the Middle East. Furthermore, I believe this geopolitical mentality sees democracy and the interests of populism as antithetical to their aims.