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TTIP poses a threat to European freedom

by
06 March 2015

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From Mr Robert Tatam

Sir, - After travelling to Brussels to participate in probably the largest lobby ever (about 130 people rather than the 60 in your report) of UK MEPs, I welcomed your news item (6 February) on this lobby and the protests against the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

The possible deal is about much more, however, than "restricting the rights of individual countries to legislate against articles such as foodstuff if that was seen to block free trade". Two of your earlier articles (Comment, 28 March and 3 October 2014) brought to our attention two wider negative implications.

First, the proposed Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) clause would allow companies the right to sue governments through an "international arbitration process", if governments make decisions that reduce a company's profits.

Second, the attempt to secure a general "harmonisation of standards" between the United States and the European Union in a wide range of legislative areas would undermine "regulation that has been built up over decades to protect people and the environment".

In spite of reassurances from government ministers and certain MEPs, the future shape of the NHS could be determined by this deal. The nature of the European Commission's proposals on "regulatory co-operation", which has been described as "the ultimate tool to prevent or weaken future public interest standards for citizens, workers, consumers and the environment", is also a danger - if not an absolute affront - to the democratic process.

There are many other potentially worrying features of TTIP which could ultimately make an impact on our country's ability to legislate democratically, and upon many issues in our daily lives.

Robert TataM
21 Sheredan Road
London E4 9RW

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