News / 14 October 2016

5 alternative arguments against TTIP

Both ENDS will join the protest against trade treaties TTIP, CETA and TiSA on Saturday October 22nd in Amsterdam. These treaties will have negative impacts, not only in the Netherlands and Europe, but also - and maybe even more so - in developing countries.

The reasons why trade treaties like TTIP, CETA and TiSA can be bad for developing countries are less well known than the impacts on the Netherlands. These are the five main reasons:

1. Weaker environmental regulations lead to more climate change

TTIP and CETA will put Europe's quite stringent environmental laws under pressure. Due to the softer legislation in the US and Canada, many products can be produced more cheaply there. This leads to unfair competition and to a greater pressure from companies to lower the European standards. Moreover, EU standards have already been adjusted for CETA.

Weakening of environmental standards, however, runs counter to the commitment to promote sustainable development and combat climate change. Climate change is a global problem that disproportionately affects the poorest people in developing countries.

2. TTIP and CETA are a threat to policy coherence

In all decisions, the Netherlands should take the effects on developing countries, on the environment or on human rights into account. This policy coherence will be impossible under the rules of TTIP and CETA. New government measures, such as new environmental legislation, may lead to substantial investment claims under ISDS (see point 5). This thereat will have a stronghold on the implementation of new regulation, even if the latter has a societal purpose. This is known as 'regulatory chill'. In other words, because of ISDS, countries possibly will not implement certain regulations for social or environmental protection due to expected damage claims.

3. CETA threatens worldwide food security

With CETA, Canada and the EU agree to comply with and promote the UPOV 1991 Convention. This controversial convention prohibits farmers to save and reuse farm saved seeds and propagating material. They must buy new seeds each season. This is a great disadvantage especially for small farmers in developing countries, which play a major role in food security in these countries. Probably also TTIP contains such an article. As not only complying with, but also promoting the 1991 UPOV Convention is part of CETA, Canada and the EU must persuade other countries to join the convention.

4. TTIP and CETA limit market access for developing countries

TTIP and CETA prioritise products from the US, Canada and EU countries, limiting the access of developing countries to the markets of these countries. This way, developing countries will see a decline of their exports to TTIP and CETA countries, and thus of their income.

5. CETA sets the wrong example for future agreements

CETA contains several articles that might be less controversial for rich countries, but which can lead to huge problems and increased inequality when implemented in trade agreements between the EU and African, Asian, Latin American and Caribbean regions:

  • CETA and TiSA state that services like health care, electricity and drinking water should be further liberalized. In developing countries, this would seriously threaten access to these facilities.
  • CETA prohibits export taxes. For developing countries, export taxes are an important way to diversify their economies and become less dependent on primary commodities, as export taxes are an incentive to process raw materials within the country before exporting them.
  • CETA, TTIP and TiSA forbid governments to impose requirements on foreign investors who want to establish themselves in a country. For example, national laws and regulations that make sure a new tourist resort creates new local jobs will not be allowed.
  • Much of our resistance to TTIP and CETA is caused by the 'Investor to State Dispute Settlement' mechanisms (ISDS). This mechanism enables American and Canadian companies to directly sue our governments in the case of (potential) loss of profits as a result of that government's policy. But on the other side, international agreements on human rights or environmental protection lack such a formal judicial system. TTIP and CETA therefore put the rights of businesses above the rights of people. Many current trade agreements between rich and poor countries contain an ISDS mechanism. For this reason, India has decided to terminate these treaties.

Chances are high that future trade agreements with developing countries also contain articles like the above, as CETA, TTIP and TiSA are seen as the new standard for trade agreements. Therefore the current debate is about more than just CETA, TTIP and TiSA: it shapes the future of global trade.

Come to Museumplein!

Both ENDS will be present at the event 'Stop Wrong Trade agreements - Manifestation for sustainable and fair trade "on Saturday, October 22 at the Museumplein in Amsterdam. The event is organized by the FNV, Food Watch, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth NL, SOMO and TNI. Will you be there?


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