Jill Evans MEP has been one of the leading opponents to TTIP in Wales, and the EFA/Green Group in the European Parliament has led this on a European level.
● TTIP is a trade agreement being negotiated behind closed doors between the USA and Europe. It’s the European Commission, rather than the elected members of the European Parliament, that is negotiating on behalf of the EU - but MEPs will be allowed to vote on it at the end of the process.
● TTIP is about reducing regulation on what are seen by some as barriers to trade; things like food safety, law, health, and environmental legislation.
● Governments could be sued for legislation/policy that affects the profits of big business corporations. These issues would be decided in International Arbitration Tribunals, rather than domestic courts, limiting governments’ ability to act in public interest.
● TTIP will threaten public services by opening them up to the market
● The EU and the USA account for 47% of the world’s GDP. This trade deal sets a powerful precedent for future international trade - and sets in motion a race to the bottom, putting profit before people.
● TTIP also puts the Welsh language under significant danger. It could well lead to the privatisation of our public services - and we do not currently have strong enough legislation to ensure Welsh is protected in the private sector. It will lead to a loss of sovereignty for the Welsh Government.
What would happen if we leave the EU?
● Many pro-Brexit campaigners have suggested that we should vote to leave the European Union as a means of escaping from TTIP. We do not think this is the way to do it, for a variety of reasons.
● If we leave the EU, the British Government will have full control of future foreign trade deals. The Conservative Government is one of the strongest supporters of TTIP in the European Union. Rather than being free from TTIP, a Brexit would mean that we are giving unrestricted power to the Conservative government to ensure that it is pushed through.
● There are many Brexiteers who suggest that we can remain in the single market without being in the EU. This option would mean that would have to comply with TTIP’s provisions without having any say in the democratic process that creates it.
What are the benefits of EU membership?
● TTIP is not inevitable. There is a significant movement to defeat TTIP across Europe. It has gained the support of well over 3 million Europeans. In Berlin, 250,000 supporters took to the street last October in a peaceful anti-TTIP demonstration. And this movement has seriously stalled the process - it was supposed to have been signed by now. Within the EU, we are united with our allies across the continent in putting a stumbling block up against this secretive legislation. If the UK was to leave, we would be isolated, with the pro-TTIP UK Government free to form their own trade deals.
What could we do better in the EU?
● Gwynedd, RCT and the Vale of Glamorgan Councils have passed motions in opposition to TTIP. This could be replicated across Wales, and make it clear that Wales is not going to accept any trade deal that takes away from democracy, and puts profit before people.
● International Trade can be a powerful tool for poverty reduction and equality. Plaid Cymru is calling for a different trade deal that puts our society, our environment and our people first.