Activists warn of substantial changes to public life if secretive trade deals are implemented
CAMPAIGNERS took to the streets of Scottish towns and cities on Saturday (23 April) including Dundee, inverness, Aberdeen and Saltcoats, to protest against the secretive trade deals the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (Ttip) and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (Ceta).
Ttip and Ceta are trade deals designed to remove barriers to commercial activity between Europe and North America. Many of those perceived barriers include worker’s rights and state and environmental regulations.
The trade deals also contain controversial plans to create an ‘investor court’ system, which would give multinational corporations the power to sue governments if they pursue policies which could impact on their operations.
The protests were part of an international day of action, coordinated by campaign group Global Justice Now.
Raising awareness of the deals in Glasgow city centre, Graham Kemp of St Andrew’s against Ttip Action Group told CommonSpace: “I’ve come out today to spread the word about Ttip and Ceta so that more people know about it.
“During the independence referendum I asked myself, what sort of country do I want to live in. Now with Ttip and Ceta I’m asking, what sort of world do we want to live in?” Bill Andrews, St Andrews Ttip Action Group
“What we’ve found from campaigning on it is most people don’t know anything about it but when they do they are very quickly against it.
Kemp told CommonSpace that the trade deals were secretive and deliberately complex and obscure so as to shut out the public.
He said: “I’ve tried reading parts of Ceta and have been lost within 5 minutes”
“It’s become apparent that these negotiations are being held in secret. This is being driven by the European commission, which is not a democratically elected body. The European Parliament is likely to have very little say.”
“The Scottish Parliament has done its bit, but it has very little power.”
The anti-Ttip movement has been growing internationally for over a year, the Scottish Saturday of action coincided with a mass demonstration in Hamburg in Germany and followed the Barcelona Declaration on Friday (22 April), which called for suspension of treaty negotiations .
Ttip free zones have sprung-up across the continent, with towns, cities and local authorities pledging not to co-operate with the stipulations on the deals. Eleven Scottish local authorities have passed anti-Ttip motions.
Bill Andrews of St Andrews Ttip action group said: “I got involved with campaigning against Ttip and Cita after the independence campaign, very much in my thinking at that time was what sort of country do I want to live in?
“Now with Ttip and Ceta I’m asking, what sort of country do we want to live in?”
The protest also coincided with the visit to the UK by U.S president Barack Obama to call for UK citizens to remain within the EU but also to discuss Ttip and other trade deals.
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