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?
For more information
Read more about this subject
Investment treaties must be inclusive, sustainable and fair. That means that they must not put the interests of companies before those of people and their living environment.
Publication / 21 September 2015
Publication / 4 April 2019
Publication / 10 March 2016
News / 14 September 2017
Remember the widespread protests against trade agreements TTIP and CETA? One of the main worries was the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism these treaties contain. Now the European Commission has proposed to set up a Multilateral Investment Court. Is that good news?
Publication / 19 September 2016
News / 19 June 2018
Today, Both ENDS sent a letter, signed by various civil society organisations, to Sigrid Kaag (Dutch Minister of Aid & Trade) reminding her of an important deadline and to urge her to terminate the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) that exists between the Netherlands and Burkina Faso. The treaty, which can be very harmful for a poor country such as Burkina Faso, will automatically be renewed for the next 15 years if it is not terminated before July 1st this year.
News / 11 October 2019
Indigenous communities in Paraguay saw their attempts to regain their ancestral lands thwarted by German investors. This is the level of impact that investment treaties can have on social, environmental and economic development and rights. Why? Because of the ‘Investor-to-State Dispute Settlement’ (ISDS) clauses that are included in many such treaties.
News / 26 January 2017
From 24-28 January 2017, the second round of negotiations towards a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) takes place between the EU and Indonesia. The proposed agreement covers far-reaching liberalisation and deregulation that can have severe impacts on society, people and the environment. Civil society organisations, including Both ENDS, released a statement to express their concern and call upon the negotiators to halt the process and fully assess the potential environmental and social impacts of the agreement.
Event / 20 June 2017
Eurodad's International Conference is co-hosted by Eurodad's Dutch members ActionAid Netherlands, Both ENDS, OIKOS, Oxfam Novib and SOMO. It will be held in the Caballero Fabriek in The Hague.
Indigenous communities in Paraguay saw their attempts to regain their ancestral lands thwarted by German investors. In Indonesia, US-based mining companies succeeded to roll back new laws that were meant to boost the country’s economic development and protect its forests. This is the level of impact that investment treaties can have on social, environmental and economic development and rights. Why? Because of the ‘Investor-to-State Dispute Settlement’ clauses that are included in many such treaties.
International trade agreements often have far-reaching consequences not only for the economy of a country, but also for people and the environment. It is primarily the most vulnerable groups who suffer most from these agreements.
News / 11 October 2019
In Indonesia, US-based mining companies succeeded to roll back new laws that were meant to boost the country’s economic development and protect its forests. This is the level of impact that investment treaties can have on social, environmental and economic development and rights. Why? Because of the ‘Investor-to-State Dispute Settlement’ (ISDS) clauses that are included in many such treaties.
Blog / 28 September 2018
In 2001 Tanzania and the Netherlands signed a treaty only known to a few; a so-called Bilateral Investment Treaty aimed "to extend and intensify the economic relations between them and to stimulate the flow of capital and technology and the economic development of the Contracting Parties". But signing the treaty was in fact mainly a symbolic act which since then has had little if any effect in this respect. In fact, a report by the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis found that BITs have no positive effect on investment in low and lower middle income countries located in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa, including Tanzania.
External link / 31 May 2018
For several years now, Both ENDS has been drawing attention to the downsides of existing Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) between the Netherlands and countries in the Global South. In 2017, an important step was taken, when Uganda decided to terminate its BIT with the Netherlands, as advised by Both ENDS and our local partner SEATINI.
Publication / 7 November 2018
News / 11 December 2015
Nairobi, Kenya's capital city, will be the epicenter of international trade from 15 to 18 December 2015. The representatives of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which currently has 162 member countries, will come together to negotiate. The different countries tend to have very different and often conflicting interests, which makes it difficult to reach agreements. Burghard Ilge of Both ENDS travels with Minister Ploumen as an official adviser and mediator from civil society. His role is to inform the Minister about the views and interests of civil society organisations around the world, in order for her to take these positions into consideration during the negotiations. We asked Ilge some clarifying questions.
Together with civil society organisations from all over the world, the Fair Green and Global (FGG) Alliance aims for socially just, inclusive and environmentally sustainable societies in the Netherlands and the Global South.
Press release / 5 April 2019
The Hague, April 5, 2019 - Today Friends of the Earth Netherlands will deliver a court summons to Shell to legally compel the company to cease its destruction of the climate, on behalf of more than 30,000 people from 70 countries. A 236 page complaint will be delivered to Shell's International Headquarters in the Hague this afternoon by Friends of the Earth Netherlands, ActionAid NL, Both ENDS, Fossielvrij NL, Greenpeace NL,Young Friends of the Earth NL, Waddenvereniging and a large group of co-plaintiffs.
Publication / 28 February 2018