Could the “TTIP” give banks an opportunity to block monetary reform?

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TTIP

 

An international trade deal is being negotiated that could – in theory – give large international banks an opportunity to sue governments that implement monetary reform. Peter Verity, coordinator of the Sheffield Positive Money group, considers whether this might be a threat to Positive Money.

TTIP & ISDS – although these acronyms sound like something to do with your internet connection, they actually represent major international deals which are currently being negotiated in secret. They could seriously threaten democracy, and lead to further deregulation of the financial sector.

So what is TTIP?

TTIP, or the ‘Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership’, is a deal currently being negotiated between the EU and the USA, described as the world’s biggest trade and investment deal outside the WTO. A key element is ‘reducing non-tariff barriers to trade (eg. labour rights, environmental and food regulations, privacy laws, banking regulations etc).

The treaty is supposed to harmonise regulations between Europe and the USA, but it will also create the legal right to rip the heart out of any Government policies or laws which big businesses decide are not in the interests of their shareholders.

It has been dubbed the Big BAD Law (Business Against Democracy).

An important part of TTIP is the ISDS (Investor-State Dispute Settlement) chapter which grants transnational companies the right to sue governments if their profits are threatened. There have been over 500 cases brought to date, predominately by developed countries against developing countries, with over 50% either settled or found in favour of the claimant1. ISDS has been used to block plain packaging for cigarettes in Australia, it is being used by a nuclear company contesting Germany’s decision to switch off atomic power, and it cost Argentina billions in damages when they tried to freeze energy prices, adding to its sovereign debt crisis.

Should we be concerned?

Yes! The City of London is one of the strongest lobbyists for TTIP. It is not hard to see why, as one of the key things they are pushing for is to include ‘financial services liberalisation’ in TTIP. The US currently has stricter banking controls than the EU, and the City of London has its eyes on the prizes it could get in the US. TTIP may mean that current and future UK, EU and US governments who introduce many types of regulations on banks and their lending could face legal challenges in international courts.

TTIP could potentially mean a complete reversal of all the hard won regulatory reforms achieved since the onset of the financial crisis. Despite the fact that ‘light touch’ regulation of the financial sector contributed to the biggest economic crisis in living memory, banks and financial speculators are keen to get rid of even the small steps taken since then to rein in big finance.

And since ISDS would grant corporations the right to sue governments if they take decisions which reduce profits, there is little doubt that the banks would attempt to use the legal process to challenge even the smallest banking reform, and certainly the fundamental reforms proposed by Positive Money.

What can we do about it?

Find out more about TTIP and ISDS here > WDM briefing on TTIP

Watch this:

 

Then join one of the campaigns that are mobilising against TTIP. They include

 

1 http://unctad.org/en/PublicationsLibrary/webdiaepcb2014d3_en.pdf

 

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  • Robert Searle

    With Transfinancial Economics (notably in its Advanced Stage) it would be possible to reform Multi-National Corporations in ways that would make them more environmentally friendly , and more sustainable, and socially ethical as never before. This process would involve the digital creation, and transmission of new money (without serious inflation) to change their ways with close transparent monitoring. This new money could act as a one off compensation, or long-term compensation for them in part or in full to stop, or suspend certain activities which may be anti-environmental, or anti-sustainable in some manner, or other..Yet, this would be a very unpopular concept to those on the left of the political spectrum But saving people, and the planet is far more important than any political ideology. http://www.p2pfoundation.net/Transfinancial_Economics

    …………..In an ideal world, it would be more ethical to have an international organanisation that would have the global political clout to ensure that corporations obey rules, and regulations in connection to the environment……and ofcourse, other matters of a high ethical nature…

  • Sanjay Mittal

    TTIP might actually BENEFIT those of us campaigning for full reserve banking. Reason is that the existing or fractional reserve banking system cannot do without subsidies and state support. Witness the TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS of public money that had to be used to support that system over recent years.

    In contrast, under full reserve, anyone wanting their money loaned on or invested by a bank carries all the risks involved, rather than taxpayers carrying some of the risk. And the advocates of TTIP claim to be pro-free market, i.e. they claim to be opposed to state interference of any sort, state funded subsidies of banks included presumably.

  • sacicr

    It would seem to me that banks could sue governments for creating debt free currency – because it would crowd out their credit creation, and if government went as far as introducing Positive Money’s proposals fully,it would have a devastating effect on their enormous profits.

    They would definitely sue under the ISDS, and in the secret courts proposed, they would win. This is a very serious threat to Positive Moneys proposals, and therefore another serious threat to democracy and protection from financial crises and poverty.

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