The transatlantic trade investment

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matthias fekl: The French trade minister.

IN the 1970s and later, science fiction writers imagined a world which was not dominated by warring nations, but by warring multinationals which literally employed and deployed armies of human beings who were used as pawns by these gigantic corporations.

Europe has been wooed by the USA into discussing the possibility of a new and ‘exciting’ trading partnership, which is supposed to encourage greater freedom of trade and supposedly promises huge financial benefits to member states of the EU.

Large numbers of people, remembering the phrase ‘Beware Greeks bearing gifts’, have been sceptical about the benefits and how US Corporations would benefit from this partnership.

The fears are now spilling over into government circles especially as Greenpeace has leaked a number of classified documents, which do not show the USA in a particularly appealing light.

A great deal of the negotiation has been confidential, but the French trade minister Matthias Fekl said a freeze in the negotiations was the “most likely option,” without a change from the USA as Europe was offering a lot with little in return.

“It is an agreement which, as it would be today, would be a bad deal,” he said in a French radio interview.

TTIP could “unravel” the international climate change deal agreed in Paris last year, and there appear to be few safeguards for French agriculture (of major importance to all French politicians), nor was there sufficient protection for its industry.

Despite the fact that this is supposed to be a Union negotiation, various member States are considering their personal positions and there doesn’t seem to be a large amount of support for this pact.

Although Britain was known as America’s poodle in the days of Bush and Blair, any involvement in the partnership could be moot in the event that it leaves the EU, and already President Obama has indicated that it can go to the back of the trade queue if it does leave.

There have been numerous public demonstrations against the TTIP and perhaps on this occasion, French self-interest could be in the interest of all of Europe.

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