Local members of World Development Movement and other concerned groups held an information stall in Montague Street, Worthing on Saturday October 11th. It was one of many being held throughout the EU to raise awareness of a trade deal which is presently being negotiated between the EU and the US – the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
TTIP is designed to lower trade barriers to encourage big corporations to set up in the countries concerned but the World Development Movement and others believe it to be a threat to democracy as it includes rules allowing corporations to sue governments which implement policy changes adversely affecting their profits.
The World Development Movement advises these rules have already been used by utility companies to sue Argentina for freezing energy bills, by a Canadian company to sue El Salvador for refusing permission to dig a gold mine and tobacco giant Philip Morris is now suing the Australian government because they introduced plain packaging for cigarettes.
The stall also provided an opportunity for people to register their concerns by signing a EU wide petition aiming for a million signatures calling on the EU to hold a public debate on the deal.
Stall organiser and WDM member Dereck Prentis said “We were very pleased with the response of people when they understood the implications of TTIP. It will extend the power of big business over our society to unprecedented levels. It is a massive corporate power-grab, putting big business before ordinary people, allowing companies to override elected governments. It will also bring UK food safety and environmental standards down to the lower US levels of regulation.
“Our government is currently supporting this but there’s huge opposition within the UK and other EU countries. If enough people stand up against this deal, it can be stopped”.