You may have read in the press of the EU / US FTA, but do you know what it entails? The BBC have been keen to report on the Free Trade Agreement, or at least some points, it’s told us about the removal of tariffs from ‘goods’ crossing borders and that’s about it. This is to be expected, from a government managed corporation, (Patten is their Chairman and has attended Chequers; http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/david-cameron/10580932/David-Cameron-accused-of-burying-details-of-donor-favours.html ) whose national and EU news content is limited recently?
‘Trade’ and ‘trade agreements’ are different. People have always traded, but the international trade agreements to which we are being quietly signed up at the EU level are secretive legal straitjackets, and are effectively permanent in order to provide ‘investor security’.
The TTIP is basically, a SELL OFF of all our Public Service Rights, hidden in a trade deal, tied up by a section in the Health and Social Care Act? Section 75, ‘HARMONISES’ legislation between EU, UK and USA, everything comes down to American legislation and ALL services, across the spectrum, will be ran this way.
The international trade agreement agenda is the wider framework into which UK domestic policy, like the HSCA, fits. Yet these matters are not publicised by the EU Trade Commission and the media, including the BBC which has an office in Brussels, fail to report on it. In international trade agreements the neo-liberal agenda, of privatising what is public and handing power to transnational corporations, becomes fixed. Trade commitments, at the level of international trade law, are beyond national and EU level law – the ‘legal straitjacket’ referred to above. Negotiated by the EU on our behalf, they apply to all levels of government including local government.
Does anyone understand, why Osborne is advocating a minimum wage rise? Well, because of this paragraph in the agreement rules;
“The EU is now including ‘investor protection’ in its trade agreements which allows corporations to directly sue governments if their corporate ‘rights’ are infringed or profits ‘expropriated’, for instance by any new legislation that would limit future profit-making.”
Basically, after this is signed, June 2014, it becomes law in 2015 and to give a wage rise then, would be stopped by the corporations? They would take the government to court!
So there we have it, we are to be tied to minimum wage for eternity. Another statement in this agreement, also affects all of us;
“So the HSCA and the section 75 regulations that put into effect international harmonisation therefore become ‘set in stone’ – irreversible even with a different government authorised by a direct electoral mandate to take such a step.”
We won’t be able to reverse ANY policies made by previous government! Bedroom tax stays; there won’t be any Re-Nationalisation, of anything! We will be losing our policemen and will be policed by PCSO’s. Remember last Wednesday (8/Jan/14) the House of Lords threw out a proposed new ASBO Bill, the IPNA Bill, this was the new law PCSO’s were to control the population by, so expect it back, PDQ!
PSCO’s are being trained now, under the supervision of proper policemen and women who have taken an Oath of Office. These PCSO’s have No Authority, No Oath, but carry a copy of PACE? We are being ‘conditioned’ to accepting instruction, from an un-authorised person in uniform! G4S and Serco, earning a fortune, from taxpayers?
Although the focus is kept on trade-in-goods, for instance by Secretary of State for business Vince Cable, most trade in and out of the EU and the UK, is, in fact, in services. Commitments to liberalise trade-in-goods in trade agreements are very different to commitments to liberalise trade-in-services, which are about corporate rights. As the state effectively relinquishes control of the sector, corporations simultaneously gain ‘rights’. A country’s trade-in-goods commitments reduce at-the-border tariffs for goods moved across borders. When a country commits a service sector to a trade agreement, it commits to opening that sector to transnational investors (‘liberalising’ it), and to keeping it open Service commitments inherently invoke certain rules: that transnational corporations must be treated at least as well as domestic companies i.e. domestic companies cannot be preferred (National Treatment rule) and that there is no limit on either the number of services that companies may offer in that sector or the number of firms that can come in (Market Access rule). This is supposedly to provide a level playing field, but actually, once allowed in, transnational corporations have inherent advantages in bidding, in respect of size and economies of scale, international access to credit, cheap labour, etc. The playing field is far from level.
We lose all our democratic rights? No more Trial by Jury? No more Innocent until proven Guilty? All Common Law and Sovereign rights will be passed to corporations and we become corporate slaves.
A US/EU deal will see the world’s two biggest economies in a neo-liberal pact with the additional stated aim of gradually levering the rest of world into this agreement, achieving, in effect, the global corporation rights which Doha failed to achieve.
Public procurement (all government spending, including public services) is a big part of the global trade agenda. Corporations want rights, via trade agreements, to access public procurement bidding processes in as many service sectors and geographic areas as possible.
Because of the power of the corporations who will most benefit, there are multilevel strategies for this: within the WTO, through bilateral trade deals, via EU internal regulations and via national legislation. Converting the NHS from a universal, free-at-delivery, tax payer-funded public service to a transnational investment opportunity is a big prize – and an important liberalisation model. Moreover, as trade commitments apply to all levels of government, the health responsibilities of Local Authorities will also be constrained by trade commitment liberalisation and corporate rights.
This, I believe is part of a bigger picture, one I’ve blogged about on here, the Agenda 21. This UN policy has been ‘dormant’ for over twenty years, although we only joined in1997, when Tony Blair signed it!
Also the NHS will become privatised, if it is NOT taken out of the TTIP!