TTIP: A Double Edged Sword?

TTIP: A Double Edged Sword?

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is an exciting new prospect for 2016. It is a proposed free trade agreement between the United States and the European Union.

In part, it has been depicted from the Transatlantic Free Trade Area that Angela Merkel had proposed both in the 1990s and 2006. So many of you may ask, why hasn't the proposal been publicly supported up until now?

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership has had many fall backs which are trying to be smoothed over before the end of 2016.

The hype about TTIP and why you should know about it is because it will change the market as we know it. The US and EU represent 60% of Global Gross Domestic Product together. A free trade agreement between the two powers would cover 45% of world GDP.

So what would it mean for us?

The idea of TTIP is both fascinating and frightening. This is because it would literally change trade around the world. For example, Americans would be able to taste Irish beef, Italian coffee beans and proper homemade bread. While Europe would gain from Foreign Direct Investment and American products.

The effects of TTIP can only marginally be predicted. It would make it easier for European to buy US commercialised products and walk down the street with a Michael Kors bag. Conversely, in the US, consumers would be able to enjoy French bread, Irish meat and learn about the different cultures of the world. It would also mean that the expense of these products would rise with the demand, as it did with quinoa only two years previous. The commercialisation and excess of consumerism will grow.

TTIP would further globalize; allowing for the spreading of world views, products, ideas, people and culture.

In a Wall Street Journal article, the CEO of Siemens GmbH stated that TTIP would strengthen United States and EU global competitiveness by reducing trade barriers, improving intellectual property protections, and establishing new international laws. This is with the assumption that 70% of the workforce would be from Europe and 30% from the US.

One major concern is how the EU will tackle the current problem with the preservation of meats in America. The food is largely cured and the Food Standards Authority of Europe has guidelines to which European butchers must confer. Seventy per cent of processed foods in US markets contain genetically modified ingredients while the EU allows virtually no genetically modified foods.

Another worry is that the negotiations are being conducted in private. This negotiation will have continued for a year and a half, by the time a consensus may or may not be reached, but the effects of this consensus will affect everyday people. For example, in America only two out of the eight International Labour Office's standards are met. Are European Standards going to meet in the middle with American? The lacking of democracy is telling. However, elected MEPs will get their say to represent the people's views.

So the question is what do you think of TTIP? Do you think the availability of trade and possible FDI would improve your life? Or is the idea of new cuisine exciting to you? Are you concerned with the lack of standards on meats or labour standards?

TTIP may change the world; but do you think it's for the better?

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