Keep up with the news by installing RT’s extension for . Never miss a story with this clean and simple app that delivers the latest headlines to you.

 

EU-US historic trade deal: ‘Putting the corporation above the nation’

Published time: November 11, 2013 12:03

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (L) welcomes U.S. President Barack Obama.(Reuters / Yves Herman)

Download video (35.38 MB)

The successful adoption of the EU-US trade agreement promises both parties massive gains of up to $159 billion, but the profits could come at the expense of the everyday consumer, who could see the quality of their products diminish as a result.

Over 50 US officials are in Brussels to negotiate the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which, if signed, will create the world’s largest free-trade area, which has also been dubbed an “economic NATO”. Officials meeting in Brussels this week will hammer out details to reduce trade limiting regulations.

The new round of talks will focus on reducing trade barriers on investment, energy, services, and raw materials, and key agreements will be announced Friday.

‘Non-tariff barriers’ increase the cost of business, whether it’s adjusting the voltage on an electronic device, changing a car’s exhaust system to comply with local environmental regulations or a difference in opinion of which chemicals are "harmful" or "hazardous" in the respective territories.

By limiting health, safety and environmental regulations in order to boost trade, the US and EU are “putting the corporation above the nation,” Glyn Moody, journalist and author, told RT in an on-air interview.

“That’s a very big assumption. People may not want to have their food less safe or environment polluted for the sake of more money,” Moody told RT.

Moody also warns the trade agreement could behoove giant corporations like Monsanto, who could use the new ‘de-regulation’ to sue the EU for billions of dollars if they refuse to import GMO products

The EU says the TTIP could bring annual benefits of $159 billion (€119 billion) to its 28 member states. This breaks down to an extra $730 (€545) in disposable income for a family of four in Europe and an extra $875 (€655) per family in the US, according to a March 2013 study on “Reducing Transatlantic Barriers to Trade and Investment”.

There would be fewer constraints and companies will benefit, but “the public will pay in terms of regulation reduced protection and that is never calculated in these trade agreements, it’s always about the bottom lines of the big companies,” Moody said.

The week-long round of negotiations were originally scheduled for October but postponed due to the US government shutdown.

On December 16-20 officials will meet in Washington DC for another round of talks. The first round was held in Washington in July after the G8 Summit in Northern Ireland.

The Perks

The trade flow of goods and services between the two blocs reached about $2.7 billion per day in 2012, according to the US Office of Trade and Commerce. Total trade in 2012 was $647 billion.

The agreement could boost employment on both sides of "the pond", as increasing exports usually creates more jobs. 

The European Commission has brazenly promised the deal could boost gross domestic product in the dilapidated EU by 1 percent.

Auto trade will especially benefit from jettisoning regulations. Turnover between the US and Germany could double if the trade agreement makes more umbrella standards- for example, if  a car is crash-tested in America, it need not be again tested in Europe.

North America is an important destination for Foreign Direct investment, and is home to about one third of European foreign direct investment. Investment activity between the EU and US suffered after the financial crisis in 2008, and both sides will also try to find a balance on trade regulation to save big bucks.

Broken trust

Limited trust over the fall out of the NSA spying scandal may also put a hamper on negotiations between the trade giants.

The feasibility of the deal came under question after  NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden leaked information showing the extent of espionage on allies abroad. France announced the wanted to temporarily postpone the talks over snooping, but they proceeded as planned.

The spying row shouldn’t affect US-EU trade talks, US Secretary of State John Kerry said as the trade partnership is “really separate from any other issues”. The US hasn't provided any guarantees it will curb spying on its allies.