America is the first one, as always. It sealed the TPP ( Trans-Pacific Partnership) agreement, very similar to TTIP on which US is still treating with Europe, but which concerns the countries of the Pacific region (USA, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Vietnam, Singapore, Brunei and Malaysia); In short, it aims at creating the largest free trade area in the world. It is defined as a turning point in the process of globalisation, a fundamental step toward the construction of a large area for free exchange of global importance. Once it is completed, TTIP will put together 63% of the world GDP.
“Now we must work quickly to complete the negotiations on TTIP before the American presidential elections – said the Italian Deputy Minister of Economic Development, Carlo Calenda -. For this to be possible, the Member States of the European Union must rediscover compactness and support the work of the Commission, by ceasing to chase this part, mostly minority, of the European public opinion that is prejudicially contrary to TTIP for ideological reasons. For BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) it will be much more difficult to continue to indulge in protectionism and dumping”.
It is obvious that we face an economic version of global proportions of the well-known game RISK, in which one can easily see the opposition between emerging economies and the traditional ones. “The treaty consists in private agreements between the EU and the United States – says Monica di Sisto, spokesman of the national campaign ‘‘Stop TTIP’’ – with the aim of stopping the indisputable advance of the emerging countries such as China, India, and Brazil, through the introduction of very powerful technical bodies, such as the Investor State Disputes Settlement. ISDS is a mechanism of protection of the investments that should allow US and EU companies to sue the opposite governments in case they introduce new regulations, important for their own citizens, but able to harm their past, present, and future interests”.
Yet, whereas the Pacific agreement is done and dusted, TTIP (“Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) which defines a commercial agreement for free trade is still in course of negotiation between the European Union and the United States – everything is still being discussed: some people think that “it demands for the laws of the United States and Europe to bend to the rules of free trade established by and for large companies in Europe and in the United States”; others think that it could facilitate the trade relations between Europe and the United States, creating economic opportunities, development, an increase in exports and even employment. The treaty involves the 50 states of US and the 28 nations of the EU, for a total of about 820 million citizens. Barack Obama and Cecilia Malmstrom push for its implementation, seeing it as an imminent solution to the crisis. In fact, the agreement still seems to be far away and complicated, as demonstrated by the slippage that follow on from Washington and Brussels. On June 10, in fact, TTIP was supposed to be discussed and voted at the European Parliament, but the vote was postponed. A slippage caused by over 200 amendments and the numerous requests of independent vote. Therefore – according to Ansa – the European Parliament President Martin Schulz had no choice but to put it off.
TTIP – as already mentioned – has the purpose of creating a single market for goods, investments and services between the US and the EU: the abolition of duties, standardization of laws and international regulations. There are many critical issues, especially in relation to the creation of uniform standard between realities (USA and Europe) in which quality standards are different. There are many opponents and they are aggressive. For Greenpeace “this deal, with the excuse of a harmonization of regulations on free trade, gives priority to the market and to private interests instead of those of the community and opens to a reduction of social and environmental standards”. Negotiations on TTIP have took place behind closed doors, in secret: National parliaments and citizens are not informed about the laws being debated.
A question of democracy, not only of economy. “If this negotiations lead to the stipulation of the agreement – says again Monica di Sisto – micro and small enterprises will be at risk, as well as typical productions, and the agro-food standards. But TTIP is not only an economic issue. As the French Liberal Minister Sylvie Goulard denounced in relation to Greece, there is a gradual shift of decision making from democratic debate towards increasingly restricted groups of experts and commissioners, and TTIP is involved in this mechanism. Rendering confidential the negotiations, for example, is a way to deny citizens control over decisions that impose austerity, decimating rights and protections, and deregulating markets for the benefit of the strong interests”.