Obama writes to US eBay sellers urging support for TTIP
US President Barack Obama has written an open letter to eBay sellers that has also been emailled to traders extolling the virtues of TTP (TTIP). You can read his letter here.
TTP (TTIP) is a transatlantic treaty currently being negotiated and it’s considered as controversial by some. Campaigning group 38Degrees is calling on Brits to oppose the treaty. Accounting firm Crunch looks at some of the issues surrounding TTIP that will impact small businesses. Needless to say, it’s a huge document and a complex issue.
Obama is keen that eBay sellers know about the benefits of the treaty and support the US government’s attempts to have it ratified.
He says in the letter: “First, TPP will help preserve a free and open Internet. In the last six years, the number of people connecting to the Internet has nearly doubled to 3 billion, with the fastest growth in developing regions like Southeast Asia. In fact, TPP trading partners are home to over 300 million Internet users, and they’re looking to connect and buy from sellers like you. A free and open Internet will be vital to enabling tens of thousands of American small businesses the opportunity to sell to the full measure of consumers who are connected to the Internet – not just those with a locally-required Internet provider. (After all, a platform like eBay might not exist without a free and open Internet.)
With a chapter dedicated to e-commerce, TPP establishes rules for digital trade that will protect and empower online businesses in the global market. Under this agreement, companies and consumers can access and move data freely without facing arbitrary blocking of websites. Companies won’t have to build expensive and unnecessarily redundant data infrastructure in every market just because they want to sell there. Hate all the paperwork that accompanies doing global business today? TPP also promotes paperless trading—transitioning customs forms from paper to electronic format and providing for electronic authentication and signatures for consumer transactions.”
No thank you, Mr President. It is highly unlikely to be of beneit to small business – or be helpful to ordinary people. TTIP is being written in secret. It is likely to mean the end of the NHS, allow giant corporations to take our government to court (in secret, of course) etc etc.
I don’t disagree that it may not be the best thing in the world. It’ll be painful and damaging for many. But it’s not secret, at least not on the European end:
Those are Europe’s negotiating aims and, obviously, within negotiation there are likely to be wins and losses. I don’t agree with most of it but you’ve got to stop this “it’s all being done in secret” narrative. The individual negotiations, maybe, but then again negotiations tend to be so that you can get the best deal without giving your negotiating partner the advantage. This is compounded by the various differing member states of the EU having to discuss amongst themselves.
As for the end of the NHS; maybe I’m an optimist. The NHS is over-worked, under-funded and hounded at every turn, but it is strong. Yes, TTIP will make it easier for US contractors to bid on NHS contracts, but these are contracts that would exist regardless of TTIP. These are contracts that exist now. I don’t agree with the percentage of private contracts awarded by the NHS (around 36% according to the Guardian, 6% according to the Government), but that is an argument for another, less blue time. What rot there is is very much home grown.
As for the giant corporations thing; you’re right, it probably would allow them to take the government to court. But this is already happening. Look at Vattenfall in Germany, it is not so much Vattenfall bullying the Bundestag into reversing it’s decision as seeking compensation for lost contracts. As ever, I don’t agree with the tactic but you can kind of see the point if a company has heavily invested in a specific utility only to find out that it is un-needed. If the contract they made was with the German state then the state should honour the terms of it’s dissolution. Personally I’m in the ‘smash the monopolies’ camp.
I resonate with your sentiments, I just think something this important deserves facts behind it instead of one line partisan soundbites.
No to TPP and no to TTIP – secretive trade agreements, with a small handful of corporate lawyers working behind closed doors, to the benefit of big corporations (pharmaceutical, energy, clothing and textiles, food & drink…) and to the detriment of almost everybody else.