Transatlantic trade and investment partnership trade talks (TTIP) ‘hit trouble’


In May, Dr Gabriel Siles-Brügge, based in Manchester, wrote: “The TTIP being currently negotiated between the EU and the US reflects:

  • the increasing intrusiveness of the trade regime,
  • a desire to bypass the increasing power of the emerging powers in the global trading system by negotiating bilaterally,
  • and the increasing prominence of civil society groups in trade discussions.

wyn grantWyn Grant, a political scientist in ‘good standing’ – an expert on the CAP and the political economy of the food chain, wrote earlier this year:

“The US-EU trade talks are running into trouble on a number of fronts, but predictably agriculture is proving to be a particularly difficult issue.

“The farm lobbies on both sides of the Atlantic are active and influential and the EU feels a need to respond to the concerns of its citizens on such subjects as GM crops and hormone-raised beef. For its part, the US sees this as protectionism under another guise.

“Food safety is an area where there is a particular gap with the EU sticking to the ‘precautionary principle’ which can justify intervention in the absence of much in the way of hard scientific evidence while the US has a more lenient ‘risk assessment model’ which only bans products if there is a known risk.

“The EU is about to approve a GM strain of corn/maize, but that is after a decade of debate and six scientific studies. It remains to be seen how much is actually planted.

“The fundamental problem is that the public in the two entities have different attitudes on issues of this kind and these are difficult to overcome, particularly when the EU is engaged in a constant search for democratic legitimacy and popular support.

“Standing up to big US corporations marketing allegedly dangerous products and processes is one way of doing that”.

Gabriel siles brugge coverHowever, as Siles-Brügge points out, such trade policy negotiations are conducted in secret, ‘dominated by experts and other insiders’.

He concludes: “The increasing constraints that global trade negotiations place on the economic sovereignty of states suggest the need for the public and civil society to be part and parcel of trade negotiations”.


Trade policy should no longer be ‘a closed policy domain’.


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