Campaigners say TTIP threatens public services and could allow corporations to challenge tax changes that hit their profits [Image: Wiktor Dabkowski/dpa/Corbis].

If the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) really did represent a good deal for UK citizens, the Conservative Government and the EU would be shouting about it from the rooftops.

They’re not, so we can conclude that it isn’t.

Fortunately, we all still have plenty of time to kill this undemocratic attempt to stamp on our freedoms.

Negotiations on the deal are unlikely to be finished until 2019 or 2020, and then it will have to be ratified by all 28 EU member states and both houses of the US Congress.

Of course, a true-blue Tory government would happily vote through an agreement that hands over our national sovereignty to international corporations, stamps on workers’ rights and inflicts low-quality merchandise on the public at a high price – which is what TTIP currently represents.

Therefore, it is to be hoped that the 2020 general election takes place before any agreement can go to the vote in the UK Parliament, and we get a reasonable government that is prepared to listen to the will of the people.

This isn’t a ‘done deal’. It can be beaten. But there is a long way to go.

MPs have won access to documents covering controversial and secretive trade talks between Brussels and Washington, but can only take a pencil and paper into the room where the files can be viewed.

Confidentiality rules mean no electronic devices – including phones, tablet and laptop computers, or cameras – are allowed in the room at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) in Westminster. This is fuelling concerns about a “cloak of secrecy” surrounding the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations between the EU and the US government.

UK business minister Anna Soubry agreed to provide the room in BIS’s offices on the condition that MPs keep the TTIP documents private. Soubry said pressure on Brussels officials from EU governments had won the concession, but the department was obliged to maintain secrecy.

Green MP Caroline Lucas said that access to documents on “this hugely significant trade deal” was necessary before UK parliamentarians were asked to vote on it. “But the bad news is that a cloak of secrecy still surrounds TTIP. If the same rules apply here in the UK as they do in Brussels, which is what the minister is implying, then MPs will be bound by a confidentiality agreement if they want to see the text,” Lucas said. “This opaque process, which shuts citizens out of this crucial debate, is profoundly undemocratic.”

Source: MPs can view TTIP files – but take only pencil and paper with them | Business | The Guardian

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