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27 February 2014

TTIP: EU wants special rights for corporations

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So far, the Commission has maintained secrecy over its position on the free trade talks with the US. However, German newspaper Die Zeit has leaked the EU draft proposal on trade in services, investment and e-commerce for the TTIP negotiations.

The draft proposal for the Free Trade Agreement (TTIP), which is currently being negotiated between the US and the EU, formulates the demands and expectations with which the Commission enters into the negotiations. It is a controversial paper and the EU Commission as so far refused to make it public. Controversial are mainly the investment protection clauses at issue in the second chapter.

In recent weeks, criticism of the envisaged agreement has grown. In particular, the investment protection that the EU Commission wants to guarantee foreign companies in the future has caused protests. Critics argue that foreign corporations would thus be given special rights of action against the EU.

Even the German Economics Ministry had expressed doubts about the proposed safeguards. As a consequence, EU Commissioner Karel De Gucht had imposed a three-month moratorium on this part of the negotiations. The Commission wanted first to listen to the concerns of citizens in an open consultation, announced De Gucht. This is a small concession, yet it did not reassure the sceptics, especially as the Commission refused to publish its proposals for the agreement.

Meanwhile, in Germany there are also increasing concerns about the proposed free trade agreement with Canada (CETA) which, according to information obtained by the Zeit, also contains far-reaching rules for investment protection. The Ministry of Economy considers such treaties between OECD countries unnecessary, a representative of the environment committee of the Bundestag reiterated last week, but in the end the federal government could approve the agreement after all. 

Full article (in German) including the draft proposal (in English)

See also: "Full support by all EU governments": Statement by EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht on the TTIP, 28.2.14

© Die Zeit

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