TTIP – Free Trade or Big Shop of Horrors?
Little shop of horrors [1] is a classic black comedy, about a young man who develops a bloodthursty plant and is forced to kill in order to feed it. There are ongoing talks about an ambitious and comprehensive agreement  called  Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) which may not be deadly for the EU but is considered highly controversial. Why?
One major point of criticism is the role and powers of private corporations through their ability to access international arbitration tribunals which will jeopardise the sovereignty of countries and their legal systems.
The tribunal most mentioned is the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), an arbitration court hosted by the World Bank in Washington that already plays a role in existing preferential trade agreements.[2]
This part of the TTIP would enable corporations to sue governments in this body  (or another to be agreed) if they believed they were being discriminated against by those countries‘ trade regulations.
This would be a fundamental transformation of the current rules of the World Trade Organisation Dispute Setttlent Mechanis where only governments have standing to bring actions of this kind.
„Investor-state dispute settlement“ would be a powerful system in which any foreign investor could take up a case claiming that regulations with a direct or indirect impact on trade have not met the obligations set out in the agreements. 
The major criticism ist therefore that a wide range of health and environmental regulations, as well as labour standards, could be rapidly undermined by private-sector quasi legal action.
People who are in favour of expanding free trade but oppose this extension of private power over the international trading system are worried that the TTIP will go more than one step to far. 
We welcome our no. 1 candidate for the European Parliament, Julia Reda, on March 28, 2014 to discuss this and other TTIP related issues.
Discussion will be in German and starts at 19.00 h at the Büro der guten Laune, Uhlandstraße 107, close to U-Bahn stop Blissestraße.

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