Alliance „Münster Against TTIP“ (engl. Factsheet)

The Alliance „Münster against TTIP“, founded the 2. September 2014, is a citizens‘ initiative against the free trade agreements TTIP and CETA.
Different groups and people are taking part in our alliance: Interested Citizens from the Münsterland, NGOs like the Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund DGB (Confederation of German Trade Unions) and the Trade Union Verdi, Attac, Mehr Demokratie e.V (an association in favour of more democratic rights, political initiatives like the Blockupy movement, Fossil Free and the Interventionistische Linke, the Katholische Arbeitnehmer Bewegung KAB (catholic movement of working men and women) as well as political parties und student groups which dislike TTIP like The Greens, CampusGreens, Die Linke, SDS, ÖDP and DKP (the green party and the left party as well as there student groups, the ecological democratic party and the german communist party).

We consider this alliance a number one example on different parties working together for one greater goal. Together we are working out ways to fight the free trade agreements TTIP and CETA.

As ruling politics is under big influence of industry and economy lobbyists, we are buliding up pressure on the peoples‘ issues as with TTIP and CETA there will come a big loss in social, ecological and consumer’s standards. Corporate power will increase as fundamental democratic rights would be hurt in both Europe and the US.

Being a part of the international movement against TTIP and CETA we want to work locally, here in Münster, so TTIP and CETA will never be realized. The more people join us, the bigger are our chances of succes.

Everyone is welcome to be a part of our team. Our periodical meetings are open and are published under „events“. Just have a look on the events and come around! We are looking forward to meet you!

TTIP & CETA

Free trade agreements are a „licence to growth without limits, ignoring social responsibility and quality of life“ ! Our government is acting without any responsibility knowing well about all bad evidence of free trade agreements in the past (for example NAFTA)! Our government is acting against the people’s will! Free trade agreements are evidently leading to trust-dictatorships and therfore to the end of democracy and the state of law!

„Following TTIP’s logic, the state of South Africa would have been damned to pay a huge ammount of money in compensation – Because of the grown difficulties in exploiting black working people.“ – Detlef Wetzel, chair man of IG-Metall (metal workers union)

This sarcastic quote does show very well what TTIP and CETA are about.

What are free trade agreements about?

  • Treaty to guarantee free trade
  • The intention is to support economical growth, job stability and the average income
  • The tools are: Reduction of customs duties and trade barriers and a „harmonisation of standards“
  • The negotiations: Like „horse trading“ → The EU commits imports of GM foods; US reduce controls on new medicine.

In the past treaties wer negot with the World Trade Organisation WTO and respected the social public services as protected by the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). → TTIP and CETA are negotiated without any WTO participation.

What free trade agreements concern the EU?

(1) TTIP – Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership

  • Contract between the EU and the US
  • Reduction of customs duties, trade barriers and high standards
  • Beginning of negotiating: 2013, Ending propably in 2015
  • Worlds biggest free trade area

(2) CETA – Comprehensive Economic & Trade Agreement

  • Contract between the EU and Canada
  • Reduction of customs duties, trade, barriers and high standards
  • Beginning of negotiating: 2009, start of ratification on 25th december 2014

 

What does TTIP want?

TTIP wants to relieve exchange of goods by reduction of so-called barriers to trade. This poses the question: what is a barrier to trade?

What is a barrier to trade?

Conventionally, tariffs, that are charged at export and import of goods, are meant. As the tariffs between EU and USA are quite low already (below 5 %), TTIP extends the term barrier to trade to the so-called „non-tariff barriers to trade“. „Non-tariff barriers to trade“ mean nearly all measures limiting free trade and hence have to be abolished according to TTIP – in plain language…

What consequences would TTIP and CETA have on citizens‘ lives?

TTIP against environmental protection

The bans on fracking and import of genetically modified organisms, the ban on particular substances (pesticides, for example), precepts for climate protection such as precepts on exhausts of vehicles, precepts for the use of filter systems, trade in CO² certificates etc. represent a clear limitation on free trade and hence a barrier to trade.

TTIP against consumer protection

Consumer protection is based on the precautionary principle. This means, that products have to be examined, before they are allowed to enter trade. TTIP sees this as a barrier to trade. Hence it suggests the principle of aftercare, which allows the sale of products without foregoing scrutiny. Other barriers to trade, such as the labelling obligation of genetically modified foods, the bans on cloning technology and on addition of hormones, should be abolished too.

TTIP against privacy

Specific data, such as personal data, electronic communication and payment data in banking operation are protected particularly. This is to change by TTIP. As data can be traded like goods, TTIP does not distinguish between data and goods. The protection of data, whether private or commercial, constitutes a barrier on trade, that has to be abolished.

TTIP against cultural diversity

Government sees the preservation of cultural diversity as a special task. This includes legal protection such as fixed book price agreement, copyright protection, as well as funding of museums, theatres, films etc. . According to TTIP these measures complicate the access of private companies as well as investors and hence constitute a barrier on trade, which has to be abolished. Or the other way round and so completely absurd: Hollywood, Google, Amazon and others are transferred the same aid money from Germany and other EU member countries.

TTIP against public supply

avaaz2Everywhere, where governmental institutions offer or support financially public services, such as education, health, water supply or social housing, TTIP smells danger. For private entrepreneurs or investors, government intervention constitutes a barrier on trade, which has to be abolished.

TTIP against the rule of law

Particular businesses and investors can sue local authorities, states of Germany, or entire countries, if barriers to trade threaten the profits „to be expected“. However, those claims are not dealt with in official courts. TTIP intends investor state dispute settlement procedures (ISDS). These dispute settlement procedures are not subject to national jurisdiction. They are private, the procedures are not public, there is no duty of disclosure. The judgements by these shadow courts bare legally binding and unassailable (no possibility of appeal).

TTIP against democracy

The sole fact, that TTIP is negotiated behind closed door let suppose the importance of democracy and publicness. Even the politicians, who have to vote on TTIP, are in the dark, basically. Whether politics, after the introduction of TTIP, will be able to intervene directing at all (attention: barriers on trade!), remains unclear. The question, to which extent enterprises and investors influence jurisdiction (attention: dispute settlement procedures!), remains unanswered. It is sure, TTIP is not about people or democracy, TTIP is only about economic interests.

TTIP against Münster

TTIP will limit freedom of action of the city of Münster massively. If the city will tighten environmental requirements, for example, enterprises will claim possible „escaped profits“ and high claims for compensation against the city of Münster. The threat of a lawsuit running into millions alone should influence the decision of the city.

The procedure Vattenfall against the Federal Republic, by which the corporation demands 3,7 billion of compensation because of the shutoff of two nuclear power stations, shows the realism of this scenario.

TTIP will extend competitive tendering to social services such as culture, education, senior citizens, counselling services, youth welfare and social benefits. The calls for bids so would happen according to economic criteria and without taking into consideration of regional, social, cultural and ecological issues. The award of contract would not be to the local provider or a charitable organization, but the cheapest provider.

There will be major changes concerning public services (for example public utilities and waste disposal). TTIP sees this as a disadvantage for private providers and demands privatization to the greatest possibly extent.

Also concerned are numerous social and cultural institutions funded by the city of Münster. For TTIP, this is a disadvantage of private providers. According to this view, funding by the local authority would have to awarded to private enterprises or finished completely. This basically means the end for many institutions in Münster.

Some examples:

Municipal utilities (including public transport), waste management Münster (AWM), social housing, community centers, counselling services, open air and indoor swimming pools, sports venues, schools, libraries, adult education centers, museums, theatres, cinemas, music schools, art associations, kindergardens, day-care centers, retirement and nursing homes, hospitals etc. .

What this means for the city of Münster and its residents can be anticipated.

 

Abolish democracy

(1) Private Justice as a result of investors protection

  • Nuclear phase-out: The swedish corporation Vattenfall tried to sue Germany for 4 billions of compensation
  • The tobacco producer Philip Morris had judicial claims against Australia and Uruguay because of tobacco packaging warning messages
  • Lone Pine (canadian energy corporation) -> 250 million Dollar claim through its US-branch against the province of Quebec because of a fracking-moratorium
  • Further Examples:
    • Corn Products against Mexico – because of a soft drink tax
    • D. Meyers against Canada – because of an exportation stop for toxic waste
    • Ethyl Corporation against Canada – because of prohibition of toxic gasoline additives
    • Doe Run Peru against Peru – mining corporation has to close down because of lacking environment protection
    • Metalclad against Mexico – Metalclad is prohibited to build a landfill for special waste
    • Lone Star against South Corea – Lone Star tries to claim for a tax avoidance trick
    • Veolia against Egypt – because of minimum wages
  • World wide there have already been 568 Corporate Claims because of similar treaties concerning environment protection laws, minimum wages, health regulations and reduction of subsidy; mehr examples at unctad.org
  • Possible consequence: Governments preventively give up on improvements in consumer protection, social and ecological sector.

(2) Rachet Clause

  • Already made privatisations are impossible reverse. For example after the privatisation of water supply in Portugal prices increased 400% while water quality declined

(3) Council on harmonisation of law

  • In the future: preventive censorship on european law → Progress in data protection, environment protetion and labour protection would be born dead.

(4) Huge amount of bad evidence all over the world

  • failed NAFTA: failed free trade agreement between the EU, Columbia and Peru
  • The Centre of Economic Policy Research (CEPR) predicts TTIP will lead to 1,3 Millions of lost jobs
  • Our government does not show any interest in those facts.

The EU does not learn

 Failed example NAFTA:

  • North American Free Trade Agreement, 1994
  • Treaty between the US, Canada and Mexico
  • Mexico
    • World Bank reverses -> The real income of Mexican workers is lower than it was before NAFTA.
    • 500000 Jobs were established in the industrie, 1,3 million Jobs were lost in agriculture -> US-Farmers Industry eliminates mexican peasants.
    • Product manufacturing: Moving to China as workers are cheaper and better educated than in Mexico.
    • Fallen employment standards, growing differences in income
  • USA
    • The mass imigration of Mexican people to the US has increased 100 per cent.

Jobwonder TTIP / CETA ?? – Studies examined

Study of the Ifo-Institute

  • Tiny growth of Jobs
  • Example: 1 million workers lose their jobs, while 1,18 million people find a new job.

Study of the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

  • Assigned by the EU commission
  • At least 1,3 million people will lose their job because of TTIP

About the petition

Support the initiative and sign against TTIP and Ceta!

TiSA

Note: As TiSA is certainly very similar to TTIP and CETA – as in terms of parallel justice, violation of human rights and the constitution, exclusion of wider public – we will only cover caracteristic specials.

Free Trade Agreement on services

TiSA – Trade in Services Agreement

  • Treaty between the EU, the US and 22 other countries
  • Cutback of trade barriers with services, harmonisation of all standards
  • Start of negotiations: 2012, ratification propably in 2015

What ist TiSA about?

  • Treaty on trade with services
  • Initiators: US Coalition of Service Industries, Global Services Coalition
  • Deals with any kind of services, especially energy supply, means of transport, financial services, communication services, public procurement
  • 23 Government speaking in favor of 50 countries, call themselves „Really Good Friends of Services“ → Partner of negotiating are the US, the 28 EU member states, plus 21 other states (+ China?)
  • Intention: More competition
  • Dimension: USA hope to increase its Exports in a magnitude of 600 billions of euros

What will TiSA potentially change in the citizens‘ lives?

(1) Democracy, transparency, legal insurance

  • Many similarities with TTIP and CETA as parallel justice, violation of human rights and the constitution, exclusion of wider public…

(2) Public and social services

  • Increasing privatisation -> hospital and healthcare sector, public transport, waste disposal, electricity supply, education
  • Studying would be impossible to pay for -> all public subsidies for universities would be cancelled, literature research would be made much harder through harsher copyrights (ACTA2)
  • Privatisation of institutions of public services -> fire and emergency services
  • Privatisation of social insurance
  • Privatisation of water supply by corporations like Néstle and Veolia ignoring the succesfull European Citizens‘ Initiative right2water.eu

(3) Social and employment standards

  • Decline of social and employment standards as well as worker protection, subcontracted labour and legal exploitation will be normal
  • Trade unions lose all their influence
  • Foreign service providers are allowed to be paid following the laws of their home country and after the employment agreement has finished, they have to leave the country.
  • Massive salary cuts and sacking of native workers
  • Mode 4 -> no evidence needs to be made in order to prove that not enough native workers can do the job

(4) Recommunalization

  • Recommunalization impossible -> failed or expensive privatisations cannot be changed.

Privatisation of water supply

  • Argentinia in 1993: Privatisation of Aguas Argentinas / Suez -> Prices increased by 89 per cent, for the most poor 177 per cent, shortages in water supply
  • France in 1985: Privatisation to Veolia -> Prices increased by 260 per cent
  • Portugal in 2004: Prices increased by more than 400 % while drinking water quality dropped
  • Berlin in 1991: Partly privatised to Veolia -> Prices increased by 30% (this increase only seems acceptable because the state helped with its profit

Signature initiative

Petition on AntiTiSA…

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