Dear Mark Harper,
There follows a statement put out by War On Want that crystallises my
concerns about the TTIP trade agreement.
I have been following the debate in the U.S. for well over a year, so
was alerted to the secrecy surrounding the agreement, the lack of any
kind of public scrutiny, and the power TTIP gives to American
Corporations, which is particularly scary, as they have an appalling
record with regard to issues such as workers' rights, and the
protection of the environment. Bearing in mind that U.S. corporations
have the same rights under American law as individual citizens, I find
that giving them the right to sue the UK over any environmental, health
and safety , or employment legislation, enacted to protect UK citizens,
It does seem rather ironic that, when we are about to embark on a
referendum over sovereignty, that the loss of sovereignty that TTIP
will invoke is not under scrutiny. Frankly, if staying in the EU
involves signing up to this trade deal, I will vote for leaving, a
position I never thought to take.
What I am seeking reassurance about in particular is:Will the TTIP
agreement be able to be used by foreign nationals to challenge and
change operating practices within the UK, particularly those relating
to the NHS and workers' conditions of employment? Is the loss of 'one
million jobs' a possibility, however remote?
What is your take on the secrecy surrounding the TTIP negotiations? Do
you believe this secrecy works to the advantage or disadvantage of
Will there be any opportunity at all for opposition to TTIP to be
effectively voiced and acted upon within and outside Parliament?
In conclusion, here's the piece put out by "War On Want" that alerted
me to the fact that the grave concerns of those of us working with
vulnerable communities, have crossed the Atlantic:
"When cancer patient Paul Giles heard that the EU-US trade deal known
as TTIP might affect health services in the UK, he travelled to
Brussels to find out more. But Paul’s questions were met with silence.
That’s because the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership
(TTIP) is being negotiated behind closed doors. In fact, the EU has
confirmed that all key documents relating to the agreement will remain
closed to the public for 30 years. But why all the secrecy?
Governments and big business are relying on lack of public awareness in
order to rush through TTIP and seal the deal without too much
resistance. But what are they afraid of? They know there would be an
outcry if people knew what was in store.
If TTIP goes ahead it will cost at least one million jobs. It will pave
the way for the introduction of genetically modified food into Europe.
It will irreversibly extend the privatisation of key public services
such as the NHS. And it will give US corporations the power to sue the
UK and other states for loss of profits when these governments
introduce public policies designed to protect their citizens. "