FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

A Trade Pact No One Should Want

by SERGE HALIMI

You can safely bet that the Transatlantic Partnership Agreement (TPA) will not feature as much in the forthcoming European elections as the extradition of illegal immigrants or the (alleged) teaching of “gender theory” in French schools. The TPA will affect 800 million affluent people and almost half the world’s wealth (1). The European Commission is negotiating this free trade agreement with Washington on behalf of the EU’s 28 member states, and the European parliament elected this May will be expected to ratify it. Nothing is settled as yet, but on 11 February the French president François Hollande, during his state visit to Washington, proposed to speed things up, saying: “We have everything to gain by moving quickly. Otherwise, as we know all too well, there will be a build-up of fears, threats and tensions.”

Everything to gain by moving quickly? The reverse is true. On this issue, it’s important to put a brake on neoliberalisation, and the industrial lobbies (US and European) behind it. Especially as European MPs do not know the terms of the EU Commissioners’ negotiating mandate, while the EU’s business strategy (if it has one, apart from laissez-faire) is no secret for the US National Security Agency (NSA) (2). Such dissimulation, even mild, rarely bodes well: there is a danger that the rapid advance of free trade and Atlanticism may force Europeans to import meat containing hormones, genetically modified corn and chickens dipped in chlorine. And it may prevent Americans from favouring their own producers (the “Buy American Act”) when they use public funds to combat unemployment.

The reason given to justify the agreement is employment. But supporters of the TPA, encouraged by “studies” often funded by lobbies, have more to say about the jobs created by exports than those lost through imports (or through the over-valued euro). The economist Jean-Luc Gréau notes that every neoliberal breakthrough in the past 25 years — the common market, the single currency, the transatlantic market — was defended on the grounds that it would reduce unemployment. A 1988 report (Défi 1992) announced “we were supposed to have 5m or 6m more jobs, thanks to the common market. But once it was established, Europe, plagued by recession, lost between 3m and 4m jobs” (3).

The Multinational Agreement on Investment (MAI), devised by and for the multinationals, was shredded in 1998 when public opinion was mobilised against it (4). The TPA, which repeats some of its most damaging ideas, needs to go the same way.

Serge Halimi is president of Le Monde diplomatique.

Notes.

(1) See Lori Wallach, “The corporation invasion”, Le Monde diplomatique, English edition, December 2013.

(2) Patrick Le Hyaric, member of the European United Left (EUL) group in the European parliament, published the full text of the negotiating mandate in his book Dracula contre les peoples (Dracula against the peoples), Editions de L’Humanité, Saint-Denis, 2013.

(3) Jean-Luc Gréau in the proceedings of Fondation Res Publica symposium “Le projet de marché transatlantique” (The transatlantic market project), Paris, September 2013.

(4) See Christian de Brie, “Comment l’AMI fut mis en pieces” (How the MAI was shredded), Le Monde diplomatique, December 1998.

More articles by:

Serge Halimi is president of Le Monde diplomatique

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
July 28, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Jim Kavanagh
Donald the Destroyer: Assessing the Trump Effect
Eva Golinger
There is Still Time to Prevent Civil War in Venezuela
Carl Boggs
The Other Side of War: Fury and Repression in St. Louis
Anthony DiMaggio
“A Better Deal”? Dissecting the Democrats’ “Populist” Turn in Rhetoric and Reality
Conn Hallinan
 Middle East Chaos
Mumia Abu-Jamal
James Baldwin: Word Warrior
Joshua Frank
The Fire Beneath: Los Angeles is Sitting on a Ticking Time Bomb
Myles Hoenig
It Wasn’t Russia, It was the Green Party!
Andrew Levine
Enter Scaramouche, Stage Right
Brian Cloughley
Time to Get Out of Afghanistan
Alan Jones
“Finland Station” and the Struggle for Socialism Today
Robert Hunziker
Plastic Chokes the Seas
Eric Draitser
Enough Nonsense! The Left Does Not Collaborate with Fascists
Vijay Prashad
The FBI vs. Comrade Charlie Chaplin
Jane LaTour
Danger! Men Working
Yoav Litvin
The Unbearable Lightness of Counterrevolution
Charles Derber
Universalizing Resistance: How to Trump Trump
Gary Leupp
The Trump Revolution Devouring Its Own Children
Gregory Barrett
Two Johnstones and a Leftish Dilemma: Nationalism vs. Neoliberalism
Joseph Natoli
Choosing the ‘Arteries that Make Money’
CJ Hopkins
Intersectionalist Internet Blues
Pepe Escobar
China and India Torn Between Silk Roads and Cocked Guns
Ralph Nader
Can the World Defend Itself From Omnicide?
Howard Lisnoff
Agape While Waltzing at the Precipice
Musa Al-Gharbi
Want to Shake Up Status Quo? Account for the Default Effect
Angela Kim
North Korean Policy Must Focus on Engagement Not Coercion
David Macaray
Talking Union
Binoy Kampmark
Refugee Conundrums: Resettlement, the UN and the US-Australia Deal
Robert Koehler
Opening Gitmo to the World
David Jaffee
No Safe Space for Student X
Thomas Knapp
The State is at War — With the Future
David Swanson
What’s Missing from Dunkirk Film
Winslow Myers
There Is Still Time, Brother
Robert J. Burrowes
Biological Annihilation on Earth Accelerating
Frederick B. Hudson – Dr. Junis Warren
Robot Scientists Carry Heavy Human Hearts 
CP Editor
Not My Brother’s Reefer
Sam Lichtman
Where are the Millennials?
Louis Proyect
Death Race: the Cruelties of the Iditarod
Charles R. Larson
Review: Norman Lock’s A Fugitive in Walden Woods
July 27, 2017
Edward Curtin
The Deep State, Now and Then
Melvin Goodman
The Myth of American Exceptionalism
Nozomi Hayase
From Watergate to Russiagate: the Hidden Scandal of American Power
Kenneth Surin
Come Fly the Unfriendly Skies
Andre Vltchek
Philippines: Western Media is Distorting Reality, People and Army Unite to Battle “ISIS”
Robert Fisk
Out of the Ruins of Aleppo: a Syrian Community Begins to Rebuild
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail