Stroud District Council approved a motion at its meeting on February 25, raising concerns about the potential impact on council services and lack of openness in the negotiation process of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP),.
Green Councillor Martin Whiteside, author of the motion, said “This EU-USA trade deal could affect how we deliver services to our local residents and puts the Council at risk of being sued by American corporations wanting to privatise our services. Unlike most trade deals that focus on tariffs and trade, TTIP is about so-called ‘non-tariff barriers to trade’ like environmental, health and safety and farm animal welfare regulations.”
The negotiations over TTIP have been conducted in secret with no scrutiny by MPs and no consultation with local government authorities.
Noting that TTIP could have a detrimental impact on local services, employment, suppliers and decision-making, the council is asking for a thorough impact assessment of TTIP on local authorities before the negotiations can be concluded.
TTIP includes an Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism which has been used by corporations to overturn democratic decisions related to issues such as planning, contracts and labour regulations.
“This has happened in Canada, in Quebec, in Germany and in Lancashire – being taken to arbitration to have local decisions overturned. Under TTIP any local authority that takes a decision to take back services from the private sector could be sued for billions of pounds,” said Cllr Jonathan Edmunds. “It’s about having assurances on issues like the environment and animal protection.”
Concerns about the impact of TTIP include:
- Threats to the EU’s food, environmental and labour standards.
- Losing the ability to locally source supplies and employment.
- Taking decisions away from local authorities to act in the best interests of their communities.
- The lack of full openness to TTIP position texts and access to TTIP documentation and debate by the UK public, including concerned residents of Stroud District.