Free Trade with the US is not such a good idea
By Geert Luteijn
This evening I visited a debate about the TTIP featuring the Dutch minister for International Trade and Development, Lilianne Ploumen. The TTIP is a free trade agreement between the EU and the US that is being negotiated in all secrecy. This secrecy is upheld with the argument that it could otherwise impede the interest of the negotiating parties. However nobody denies that the TTIP would have a tremendous impact on society. The costs of market integration are well known in our ever globalizing world. So is TTIP and further globalization of the European market desirable and who stands to profit?
A clear advocate of TTIP in the debate was the representative of the European Roundtable of Industrialists. A lobby organization of the largest Multinational Organizations that have a foothold in Europe. Many of these Multinationals already dominate transatlantic trade, hence tariffs are not the issue. As Dean Baker argues within this trade agreement Multinationals gain further influence over legislative issues such as patent rules as well as regulation of the pharmaceutical industry.
The only real opposition that Lilianne Ploumen got in the debate came from the representative of SOMO, an NGO that is dedicated to researching Multinationals. SOMO put up fierce criticism and rightly so.
Unfair Free Trade arrangements in Europe have already led to the Euro Crisis, which has been used by the EU to impose austerity on poorer countries in Europe. Further trade liberalization with the US would only create a further impulse to dismantle social provisions in Europe.