Nia Griffith MP has again voiced her concerns about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a free-trade agreement that is currently being negotiated between the USA and the EU.
The MP spoke up in a recent parliamentary debate in support ofthe motion proposed by Geraint Davies, Labour MP for Swansea West, calling for much greater scrutiny of TTIP both at the UK parliament and EU level.
“I am not against trade agreements, but the inclusion of an ISDS mechanism (Investor State Dispute Settlement) is of major concern. This issue is fundamental to the balance of power between democracy and multinational giants who want to impose their interests on our democratic rights. We do not want to end up with a situation where multinational companies are able to sue democratically elected Governments over laws they have passed to protect their citizens – laws such as food standard laws or environmental laws.
Furthermore, investor-state disputes would be settled by three arbitrators behind closed doors, with no appeal procedure, thus circumventing the usual legal options available. There are some horrifying examples of these investor-state disputes happening already. In 2012 the Dutch insurer Achmea was awarded €22 million in compensation from Slovakia because in 2006, the Slovak government had reversed the health privatisation policies of the previous administration, and required health insurers to operate on a not-for-profit basis. You can see the threat to our NHS, and the way that big companies could bully governments into dropping legislation such as consumer or environmental protection.
If an ISDS mechanism is included in the treaty then we need to make absolutely certain that the NHS and all public services (including those we might want to nationalise or renationalise in the future) are exempt from this.
Please find below a link to my speech – I could have said a lot more, but there were a lot of us wanting to speak so were limited strictly to five minutes, so I tried not to repeat examples that had already been given.”