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 Trans-Atlantic Investment

and Partnership



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Video: Pros and Cons of TTIP



This was the scene on the streets of Berlin earlier this month, when a hundred-fifty thousand people turned out to show their opposition to the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP.

The deal is said to have major economic implications — and has stirred strong feelings on both sides.

Proponents say it will boost both US and European economies. They argue that TTIP will create plenty of jobs: 110,000 in Germany alone. And analysts say the trade deal is expected to create a need for at least 400,000 further jobs in Europe.

But opponents say workers’ rights stand to be undermined: in the US industrial democracy and unions play a much smaller role than in the EU.

Wages in the US are also 20% lower on average than in Europe. That could result in lower pay and worse working conditions for Europeans.

Next, TTIP will harmonize standards in engineering and automobile manufacturing. Supporters say that would boost trade, allowing both sides to operate more cheaply, since they no longer have to make special export versions to meet different regulations.

Another major stumbling block is the investor-state dispute settlement. It would result in disputes between governments and companies no longer being settled in courts of law.

Instead, private arbitration panels could force governments to pay compensation for claims that legislation caused lost potential profits.

Then there’s food.

Supporters say TTIP will give consumers wider choice, making more products from abroad available.

Analysts say Europe’s food imports from the US could jump by 120%. That’s likely to lead to an overall fall in food prices in the EU.

But critics counter that TTIP would allow genetically modified products to be sold in Europe without them having to be marked as such, denying consumers the ability to make informed choices.

When it comes to the environment, the US has far stricter emissions regulations than Europe. Only recently, Volkswagen hit the headlines when it admitted rigging its vehicles with software that lowered exhaust emissions during testing.

The scandal caused consternation in the US as well as Europe.

TTIP’s opponents say the agreement would also force Europe to accept potential harmful technologies like fracking. Fracking is associated with a risk of groundwater contamination, because it uses high-pressure chemicals to free up oil and gas deposits deep in the ground.

But when it comes to TTIP, the main sticking point is that the entire treaty is being negotiated in secret, between governments and corporations — with no citizen participation.

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1. Do most “ordinary” or “average” citizens support or oppose the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership?

2. TTIP would have great ramifications on countries and people. True or false? Is TTIP very controversial?

3. Would TTIP create or eliminate jobs? Would workers’ wages and benefits probably increase, decrease or stay the same?

4. TTIP would be good for manufacturing and trade. Is this correct or wrong?

5. Who would have more power, governments or multinational corporations?

6. What are the advantages and disadvantages regarding food?

7. Europeans are “greener” with regards to environmental regulation. Yes, no, sometime or it depends? What examples were given?

8. Are the TTIP negotiations all open and transparent; or do they take place behind closed doors?


A. Is your country involved in a free-trade agreement with other countries? If yes, which countries do you have free trade with?

B. Is free trade good or bad for the economy?

C. Free trade is great for workers. What do you think?

D. Would your friends support or oppose free trade with the US and, or the European Union?

E. What will happen in the future?

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