Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership

Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 2:31 pm on 15th January 2015.

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Photo of Geraint Davies Geraint Davies Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (Substitute Member) 2:31 pm, 15th January 2015

I very much hope it will be, as I said, but I do not know, and that is the whole point. We do not know whether it will be mixed competence— in other words, we do not know whether it will be railroaded through without any ratification here before implementation, as was the case with the Peruvian and Colombian treaties. This has not been made up; this is the sort of lack of democracy that has already been railroaded through, and there is real fear that it will happen again. I say that because we face austerity in Europe in the aftermath of the banking crisis, and a Prime Minister who has naturally said that he can see the flashing red lights on the front of the global economy, and that he wants to put a rocket booster under TTIP. There is enormous pressure to have a quick deal.

I am in favour of trade. I think trade is good, and any one with a rudimentary knowledge of economics—I like to think that the Minister has that—will know that the law of comparative advantage will normally generate the fruits of trade. Those fruits are meant to be something in the order of £93 billion per year for Europe, and £74 billion to the United States. Cecilia Malmström, the negotiator and commissioner on this, has said that there will be growth and jobs, although I realise that there is a lot of controversy and different figures are being thrown around. However, it is generally accepted that trade generates added value.

One question for us concerns where the fruits of trade go. Do they go to the many, or are they stockpiled offshore by multinational giants in untaxed profits? Fundamentally, we are talking about whether the trade deal will undermine our democracy, our public services, our rights, our health, our environment and so on.