The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) and the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) have released a Declaration of Joint Principles on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), criticizing several provisions of the trade pact that the Obama Administration is secretly negotiating in Brussels before trying to muscle it through the US Congress. Supporters claim it would increase trade by as much as 50%. US-European commercialtrade is the world’s largest at $4 trillion in investment, and commercial sales by foreign affiliates in each other’s markets.
However, critics say provisions threaten the environment, decrease food safety, allow financial institutions to escape regulation that could prevent another global meltdown, drive down wages, and give up US sovereignty in many legal areas, including labor and other contractual commitments. In the auto sector, it gives European luxury carmakers a free pass to keep importing cars into the US at a time when more manufacturing jobs are desperately needed. NAFTA and the South Korean trade pacts are notorious examples of how US workers get hurt in their view.
The two labor organizations say that any final Transatlantic Trade Deal must not, among other conditions, include an investor-to-state dispute settlement mechanism (ISDS), which grants special legal rights and privileges to foreign corporations and threaten the provision of important public services, such as education, healthcare, water, postal services and public transportation.
“The TTIP is an opportunity to get trade and globalization policy right, but only if it is negotiated in an open manner that puts people before profits,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “We have an opportunity to create a new gold standard for international trade, but that will only be the case if the agreement results in higher standards and better jobs for working people.”
Bernadette Ségol, General Secretary of the ETUC, stated that the ETUC “opposes ISDS—corporations should have no more favorable treatment than other groups in a society. In addition, it is critical that Transatlantic Trade Deal not require public procurement decisions to be made solely on the cheapest price, but also respect collective agreements, social rights, and environmental standards.”
What is publicly know about the deal is not encouraging leading to warnings from: