US-EU trade talks end in secrecy
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Today, October 7, 2016 the United States and the European Union conclude week-long negotiations on the foundering Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership in New York City. At this latest negotiating round, held behind closed doors, civil society representatives were even denied an opportunity to make presentations at a stakeholder’s event, contrary to past practices. TTIP negotiating documents are classified as government secrets, even as several hundred corporate lobbyists who are “cleared advisors” to the U.S. Trade Representative are granted privileged access to these documents.
Tariff issues are a secondary matter in these talks. Generally speaking, tariffs on transatlantic trade in goods are low. Negotiators, therefore, focused this week — as they have throughout the course of U.S.-EU talks — on lowering so-called regulatory “barriers” to transatlantic trade and investment. Such “barriers” include critically important environmental and public health protections — such as those related to climate change, food safety, genetically-engineered products and toxic chemicals, among many others.
Friends of the Earth U.S., alongside our international partners like BUND in Germany, deplores the deliberate lack of transparency in these talks. The secrecy of negotiations in New York City this week was intended to prevent a meaningful public debate. Moreover, the denial of any opportunity for environmental advocates or other public interest organizations to make presentations at the talks bespeaks the unwillingness of trade negotiators to seriously listen to anyone other than their “cleared corporate advisors” who are granted access to secret documents and indeed help draft them.
To learn more about Friends of the Earth’s concerns with the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, the Trans Pacific Partnership, and other international consolidations of corporate power over government safeguards, visit our web page, Medium page or foe.org archives.