A new UK coalition is sounding the alarm over how the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), currently under negotiation between the U.S. and EU, would force European small businesses into unfair competition with U.S. firms with lower standards and lower costs.
“Together with thousands of our counterparts in other European countries, we are concerned that many European businesses risk being wiped out by unfair competition from U.S. corporations if TTIP is allowed to go through,” reads the statement from Business Against TTIP, launched over the weekend.
“TTIP will enable some of the world’s biggest corporations to undermine EU social and environmental standards,” it continues. “Under its investor protection rules, TTIP will also give U.S. firms unprecedented powers to sue the UK government when any new laws affect their profits.”
Noting that “the overwhelming majority of British businesses do not export at all to the USA,” the statement declares: “TTIP has been designed by and for the largest corporations that trade and invest across the Atlantic, not the majority.”
These assertions are backed up in a new report issued Sunday by the London-based War on Want, entitled, (pdf).
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“TTIP threatens to expose small businesses in Europe to direct competition with some of the largest multinational corporations in the world—and on unequal terms,” reads the report. “U.S. businesses face far lower production costs due to less stringent regulations, lower labour standards and cheaper inputs, especially energy costs. U.S. big business has the added advantage of huge economies of scale.”
As a result of this unfair competition, the study warns, U.S. businesses will be able offer products at far cheaper prices than European small or medium sized enterprises (SME). In turn, War on Want calculates that 680,000 jobs across Europe would be lost.
“TTIP offers small businesses nothing, but thousands could fold if U.S. firms are allowed into our markets without having to abide by EU rules,” said Mark Dearn, War on Want trade campaigner and co-author of the report. “TTIP is a bonanza for big business, but a nightmare for everyone else.”
It’s no surprise, then, that a separate investigation by the Dutch Platform of Authentic Journalism, published over the weekend, showed the close links between supposedly independent, pro-TTIP think tanks, and the big businesses that fund them.
In fact, yet another report published Monday by the German campaign group LobbyControl and the Brussels-based Corporate Europe Observatory examines the origins and impacts of TTIP’s proposals for regulatory cooperation and shows that “the process has been dominated by big business right from the start.”
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