Dear Phil Smith,
I represent the Greater Bristol Alliance, a local organisation with concerns over the ratification of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and CETA.
The texts of the TTIP negotiations have been kept strictly secret until last Monday’s leak, which reveals European Commission negotiators preparing to trade away key sectors of the European economy in order to win contracts for multinational corporations in the USA. [https://www.ttip-leaks.org/]. The leaked documents, which represent 13 of the 17 chapters currently in ‘consolidated text’ form, also confirm that TTIP will open the door to US producers of genetically modified food and other products banned in the EU for public health and environmental reasons, confirming fears that European regulatory standards will be abandoned in the deal.
Additionally, they show that the USA is refusing to accept any ‘reforms’ suggested by the EU to the hugely controversial investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) ‘corporate court’ mechanism, which allows big business to sue governments for lost profits.
We have long warned that TTIP is a danger to democracy, food safety, jobs, small and medium size enterprises and public services. Now we see it is even worse than we feared. Today’s leak shows the European Commission preparing to sell us down the river, doing deals behind closed doors that will change the face of European society for ever. It is simply unacceptable that a group of unelected officials should be allowed to contemplate such a thing without any public scrutiny.
The Greater Bristol Alliance, in concert with other community organisations, have already called on Bristol Mayor, George Ferguson, to make Bristol a TTIP free zone. This was backed by a petition of over 4000 signatures, debated by the full council, requesting an impact assessment on the ability to give preference to local companies in procurement by local authorities. It was pointed out that in giving local companies preference, local authorities could risk being sued by multinational corporations with almost infinite resources to spend on litigation.
To date, we are unaware of any challenges made by Bristol Chamber of Commerce or Business West to this toxic deal. Can you please confirm the position Business West intends taking to defend the interests of local business, particularly those in food manufacture, during this, Bristol’s Food Connections Festival.
Chair – Greater Bristol Alliance