Free trade agreements (TTIP/ CETA) and international trade

luzitanija/, montage foodwatch/Dirk Heider

What’s the problem? 

The European Union is still negotiating the TTIP free trade agreement with the US and has already approved the CETA deal with Canada. These agreements are part of a “new generation” of trade deals that focus on the elimination of “non-tariff barriers” instead of on customs duties or subsidies. These non-tariff trade barriers include important standards for consumer, health and environmental protection. Under TTIP and CETA, such standards will be either lowered or prevented from improving in the future. In addition, these trade agreements undermine our democracy, for example by granting investors special rights to sue governments over domestic laws.

What is the solution? 

We need trade agreements that do not pose a threat to democracy, but instead strengthen consumer, environmental and social rights. foodwatch is not against international trade or free trade agreements. However, these trade deals must be negotiated transparently, create fair trade conditions and serve the prosperity of all citizens instead of simply increasing the profits of large companies. TTIP and CETA do not satisfy these criteria and must therefore be stopped immediately!

What is foodwatch doing? 

foodwatch is educating the public about the threats that these new trade deals pose to democracy, especially to consumer rights. In 2015 the book Die Freihandelslüge (The Free Trade Lie) by foodwatch founder Thilo Bode spent several weeks on the bestseller lists in Germany. Together with other organisations foodwatch organised protests against TTIP and CETA in Paris, Berlin and Amsterdam. foodwatch lodged constitutional complaints against CETA to the German Federal Constitutional Court and the French Constitutional Council – both cases are still pending. In the Netherlands foodwatch is organising a referendum against CETA.

Image: © luzitanija/, montage foodwatch/Dirk Heider

Last update June 15, 2017
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Comment by Thilo Bode

“Trade by the people, for the people (guest commentary by Thilo Bode, February 12, 2018, Politico)