John Hilary https://www.opendemocracy.net/taxonomy/term/14735/all cached version 15/06/2018 04:12:16 en TTIP - denial in face of defeat https://www.opendemocracy.net/ournhs/john-hilary/ttip-denial-in-face-of-defeat <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>New leaks reveal how our democracy is being traded away behind closed doors under the guise of a 'trade deal' - is TTIP becoming too toxic for any smart politician to support?</p> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoNormal"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/549093/TTIP_banner_cropped560with_text2.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/549093/TTIP_banner_cropped560with_text2.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="255" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span><em>Image: War on Want</em></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span>This week sees the start of the ninth round of talks towards the infamous Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the EU-US treaty that is widely seen as one of the greatest threats to democracy in the 21st century. </span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span></span><span>Negotiators from the European Commission and US government are meeting in New York to try to unblock a deal that is already becoming too toxic for politicians to handle. Luckily for them, the negotiations are always held behind closed doors.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span>Despite the secrecy, leaked documents have revealed that this week’s talks will centre on a trade-off between opening up European agricultural markets on the one hand (a key US demand) and access to US public procurement contracts on the other (one of the EU’s main targets). In the twisted logic of free market fundamentalism, EU negotiators plan to trade away the farming sector of Europe to the giants of US agribusiness in the hope that large European corporations might in return be granted access to local government contracts in the US states. </span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span>Neither of these are desirable outcomes. Farmers in several European countries are already raising the alarm at the prospect of European agriculture being wiped out by unfair competition from US agribusiness, which has to comply with none of the food safety or environmental standards that we prize in Europe. The European Commission protests that it would never sacrifice our standards on the altar of free market dogma, but has already begun to relax a number of food safety rules as sweeteners for the final deal.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span>On the US side, there is public opposition to the idea that local procurement contracts could be thrown open to big European corporations simply so that fat cats on this side of the Atlantic can line their pockets further. Many of these contracts are deliberately protected in favour of small-scale businesses and family firms so as to keep jobs in the local economy. Official estimates predict that hundreds of thousands of US workers will become unemployed as a direct result of the market opening that TTIP will bring, just as hundreds of thousands of Europeans are predicted to forfeit their jobs as a result of the deal’s market liberalisation here. </span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span>Small wonder, then, that Saturday’s global day of action against TTIP and other free trade agreements saw over 750 separate protests in town and cities throughout the world. Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets to demonstrate public anger against TTIP’s dogged pursuit of corporate profit at any cost. Different country platforms prioritise different aspects of the TTIP deal – the threat to our public services, the prospect of increased fossil fuel consumption or the undermining of the EU’s environmental protection rules, to name just three. Yet all campaigners unite in their disgust at TTIP’s complete disregard for democratic integrity and the rule of law.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span>Faced with this resistance, the European Commission has put its head in the sand and tried to deny there is anything wrong. For those of us who have been involved in trade policy debates with them over the past 20 years, this is the standard reflex of the Commission every time it feels its credibility slipping away. Ultimately, it is an unelected body that has no accountability to the European people. Like unelected bodies the world over, it simply increases its propaganda output in place of addressing its failures.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span>I made this point to EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström when we met in her office during the previous round of negotiations in February. Malmström conceded that TTIP is becoming more and more unpopular as people find out what it will entail for them, but added icily that she is in no way dependent on the approval of the European people. Ultimately, Malmström only needs to respond to the business lobby that designed TTIP in the first place, and which continues to pull her strings.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span>This arrogance does not play so well with those individuals who do need to get themselves elected, and are trying hard to do so at the moment. In the UK, more and more Labour politicians are now turning against their party’s support for TTIP, in recognition that it is not helping their chances of success on 7 May. I took part in a hustings in the Brighton constituency of Kemptown last week in which the Labour candidate was adamant that she would defy the party whip and vote against TTIP if it ever makes it to the House of Commons. Other parliamentary candidates are taking the same stance, their nervousness being a measure of the movement’s strength.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span>The campaign against TTIP will continue irrespective of whichever party eventually forms a government in the UK. The groundswell of popular outrage at the deal is building month on month, and the European Commission has already acknowledged that it will never meet its original deadline of concluding negotiations by the end of this year. The writing is on the wall for TTIP. Smart politicians should be considering their exit strategies in preparation for its defeat.</span></p> Can Europe make it? ourNHS John Hilary TTIP Tue, 21 Apr 2015 08:38:37 +0000 John Hilary 92140 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Cameron faces TTIP showdown over NHS https://www.opendemocracy.net/ournhs/john-hilary/cameron-faces-ttip-showdown-over-nhs <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The government is coming under increasing fire for its refusal to remove health services from irreversible privatisation in TTIP.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoNormal"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/549093/ttip elephant.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/549093/ttip elephant.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="346" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span><em>Image: TTIP - the elephant in the room. People's NHS.</em></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span>This Friday will see the first Commons debate of Eltham MP Clive Efford’s bill to save the NHS from irreversible privatisation. Members of the public will gather in </span>Parliament Square<span> from 7pm on Thursday for an <a href="http://www.savelewishamhospital.com/clive-efford-bill/">all-night vigil</a> to support the initiative. Further demonstrations are planned for Friday itself.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal">The bill focuses on reversing some of the worst impacts of the Health &amp; Social Care Act 2012, which has already seen 70 per cent of new NHS contracts outsourced to the private sector. Yet the final section also seeks to exempt the NHS from the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the controversial treaty currently being negotiated in secret between the European Commission and the US government.</p><p class="MsoNormal">If passed into law, the bill declares that: “No ratification by a Minister of the Crown of the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Treaty shall cause any legally enforceable procurement or competition obligations to be imposed on any NHS body entering into any arrangement for the provision of health services in any part of the health services.”</p><p class="MsoNormal">Sadly, such national legislation would not be enough to save the NHS from TTIP. If health services are included in the deal, any future UK government will be bound by its treaty obligations as an EU member state over and above unilateral declarations such as the one envisaged in the bill.</p><p class="MsoNormal">Even if the UK were to take the extreme option of leaving the European Union altogether, TTIP would still enable US health corporations to sue future governments for reversing NHS privatisation, thanks to the ‘survival clauses’ that ensure free trade agreements remain in force for years after a state has ceased to be a party to them.</p><p class="MsoNormal">Far from agreeing to remove health services from TTIP, the coalition government has been talking up the business opportunities of opening health markets to private sector competition. In a bizarre <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/news/response-to-the-peoples-nhs-campaign-about-ttip">response</a> sent to The People’s NHS campaign last week, the government highlights the potential profits to be made by multinational companies from TTIP, as if that will somehow compensate for the loss of the NHS.</p><p class="MsoNormal">Speaking at the G20 summit in Australia this weekend, David Cameron tried to <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-30073357">dismiss fears</a> over TTIP’s impacts on the NHS as ‘nonsense’. Yet the European Commission has <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/ournhs/john-hilary/on-ttip-and-nhs-they-are-trying-to-bamboozle-us">confirmed</a> that any move to renationalise the NHS would be open to challenge under the new powers that TTIP will grant US corporations, making privatisation effectively irreversible.</p><p class="MsoNormal">This is why trade unions and other campaigners are now calling for outright rejection of TTIP rather than carveouts of one sector or another. Exempting health and other public services will never be enough to protect us from the devastating impacts of a deal that even official assessments say will cost at least <a href="http://www.waronwant.org/campaigns/trade-justice/more/inform/18196-ttip-will-cost-one-million-jobs-official">one million jobs</a> in the EU and USA combined.</p><p class="MsoNormal">The tide is turning against TTIP. The joint <a href="http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/en/ec/145769.pdf">communiqué</a> issued by Barack Obama and European leaders at the G20 is a last ditch attempt to save a process that is running into real trouble as more and more forces rise up in opposition to it. The two sides have already been forced to abandon their plan to hold the next round of TTIP negotiations in December, as originally scheduled. Even more active resistance will be coming their way in the new year.</p><p class="MsoNormal">David Cameron, Ed Miliband and all other party leaders interested in the outcome of next May’s general election would do well to read the writing on the wall.</p><p class="MsoNormal"><em><strong><span>Like this piece? Please donate to OurNHS&nbsp;</span></strong></em><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/ournhs/donate" target="_blank"><strong><span>here&nbsp;</span></strong></a><em><strong><span>to help keep us producing the NHS stories that matter.&nbsp;Thank you.</span></strong></em><strong><em><span></span></em></strong></p> ourNHS uk ourNHS John Hilary TTIP Tue, 18 Nov 2014 08:12:36 +0000 John Hilary 87910 at https://www.opendemocracy.net On TTIP and the NHS, they are trying to bamboozle us https://www.opendemocracy.net/ournhs/john-hilary/on-ttip-and-nhs-they-are-trying-to-bamboozle-us <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p class="MsoNormal">The TTIP trade treaty talks re-open in Brussels this week. We should not be reassured by the convenient 'leak' of a private letter between key TTIP advocates claiming the treaty poses no threat to the NHS.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoNormal"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/549093/nottip.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/549093/nottip.jpg" alt="" title="" width="400" height="267" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span><em>NoTTIP Day of Action on July 12. Rachel Megawhat / Demotix. All rights reserved.</em></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span>The NHS has become a key battleground for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the controversial treaty currently being negotiated in secret between the European Commission and the </span>US<span> government.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal">Now that more and more people are becoming aware of the threat that TTIP poses to public services, the European Commission and its friends have found a new and inventive way of trying to bamboozle people into accepting it.</p><p class="MsoNormal">On the eve of the sixth round of talks, which begin in Brussels this week, a ‘private’ letter from the EU’s chief negotiator, Ignacio Garcia Bercero, to John Healey MP was conveniently <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jul/11/nhs-safeguarded-european-commission-eu-us-trade-deal">leaked </a>to the <em>Guardian</em> and <em>Financial Times</em>. The letter attempts to downplay the fact that public health services are included in TTIP, suggesting that there is no need to fear for the NHS as a result.</p><p class="MsoNormal">The media went further, suggesting that there was to be a ‘carve out’ for the NHS, or that US companies would not be allowed to run public health services in the future. Both claims are entirely false.</p><p class="MsoNormal">The first thing to note is that there is nothing new in the letter, nor any change in the EU’s position. The European Commission has used exactly the same arguments to defend the inclusion of health, education and other public services in all previous trade agreements, as those of us who have been engaged in these debates for the past 20 years know all too well. Yet trade experts point out that public services are still highly vulnerable when they are included in negotiations, particularly when private operators have been granted access to public sector contracts, as is the case with the NHS.</p><p class="MsoNormal">The second thing to note is that the letter came from the chief EU negotiator to one of the principal cheerleaders for TTIP in Britain. John Healey chairs the all-party parliamentary group on EU-US investment, and has been doing his best to prevent trade unions and campaign groups from joining opposition to TTIP over the past few months. Happily, all major trade unions in Britain are now part of the campaign to stop TTIP. So here are some basic truths on the NHS and TTIP, starting with the most important and getting more technical as they go on:</p><p class="MsoNormal">1. Health services, medical services (including midwifery and physiotherapy) and dental services are all included in the TTIP negotiations. We already knew this because we saw it with our own eyes in the EU’s draft offer to the USA that was uncovered last month. Indeed, Garcia Bercero’s letter acknowledges that health services are on the table. The only sector that has been excluded from the TTIP talks is audio-visual services, as a result of dogged insistence by the French. All other public services are in, and can be traded away for further liberalisation if the US negotiators so demand.</p><p class="MsoNormal">If David Cameron wished to exclude the NHS or any other public service from the negotiations, he could do as the French government has done. All that is needed for this to happen, as the British Medical Association (BMA) has demanded, is for no mention of health services to appear in TTIP at all. In reality, of course, it is Cameron’s government that has already opened up the NHS to private providers by means of the 2012 Health and Social Care Act. Why would he raise a finger to get it excluded from TTIP?</p><p class="MsoNormal">2. Garcia Bercero’s letter also confirms another key charge from opponents of TTIP: that the NHS is open to attack under the new investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) rules that TTIP would introduce between the EU and USA. For the first time, US corporations would be able to bypass our domestic courts and challenge our national health policy decisions before ad hoc arbitration tribunals, and to sue us for hundreds of millions of dollars in ‘damages’ as a result of future policy changes that might affect their bottom line. This is one clear mechanism that would prevent any future government from bringing the NHS back into public sector hands, as the cost of compensating private providers would render such a move instantly unattractive.</p><p class="MsoNormal">Garcia Bercero would like us to believe that future challenges to the NHS would be ‘unlikely’. Yet the Slovak Republic has already lost a multi-million dollar case under similar rules to Dutch insurance company Achmea for reversing the country’s earlier (and deeply unpopular) privatisation of health insurance. Tobacco giant Philip Morris is currently using ISDS provisions to sue the Australian government for billions of dollars over its new public health law that all cigarettes must be sold in plain paper packaging. Ken Clarke MP, the minister with responsibility for TTIP, has admitted that the UK could face exactly such challenges from US health corporations if the treaty goes through.</p><p class="MsoNormal">3. Garcia Bercero’s next argument invokes <span>the safeguard on services supplied ‘in the exercise of governmental authority’ that was first introduced in the 1994 General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and has become standard in other trade agreements since. Yet this safeguard is worthless in protecting public services in the modern era, as the definition of services supplied ‘in the exercise of governmental authority’ requires them to be supplied (a) not on a commercial basis, and (b) not in competition with any other service supplier. As trade experts have confirmed over many years now, the NHS does not qualify for this protection on either of the two counts.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal">4. This brings us to the final reason given by Garcia Bercero as to why we should not worry about the inclusion of public services in TTIP. Individual EU member states are still allowed to register their own special reservations for particular services in the liberalisation tables drawn up by the negotiators and submitted to the other side in the talks. Yet the UK government has entered such a reservation in TTIP for ambulance services only. Under TTIP, US health care companies would have the right to supply hospital services or social services.</p><p class="MsoNormal">International trade negotiations are deliberately complex, and this has long allowed officials to bamboozle the general public with impunity. Releasing Garcia Bercero’s letter into the public domain (it is available <a href="http://im.ft-static.com/content/images/c571cdbc-08f0-11e4-9d3c-00144feab7de.pdf">here</a>) has allowed TTIP’s supporters to claim that the treaty poses no threat to the NHS. The opposite is true, and our struggle against TTIP continues as before.</p><p class="MsoNormal"><em><strong><span>Like this piece? Please donate to OurNHS&nbsp;</span></strong></em><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/ournhs/donate" target="_blank"><strong><span>here&nbsp;</span></strong></a><em><strong><span>to help keep us producing the NHS stories that matter.&nbsp;Thank you.</span></strong></em><strong><em><span></span></em></strong></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ournhs/linda-kaucher/will-labour-defend-nhs-from-euus-trade-deal">Will Labour defend the NHS from the EU/US trade deal?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/ournhs/corporate-europe-observatory-transnational-institute/transatlantic-corporate-bill-of-rights">A transatlantic corporate bill of rights</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ournhs/john-hilary/why-this-year%E2%80%99s-davos-could-be-bad-for-our-health">Why this year’s Davos could be bad for our health</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> ourNHS uk ourNHS EU/US Free Trade John Hilary TTIP Mon, 14 Jul 2014 07:20:15 +0000 John Hilary 84414 at https://www.opendemocracy.net John Hilary https://www.opendemocracy.net/content/john-hilary-0 <div class="field field-au-term"> <div class="field-label">Author:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> John Hilary </div> </div> </div> <p>John Hilary is Executive Director of <a href="http://www.waronwant.org/">War on Want</a> and author of <em>T<a href="http://www.plutobooks.com/display.asp?K=9780745333304">he Poverty of Capitalism: Economic Meltdown and the Struggle for What Comes Next</a> (2013)</em>.</p><div class="field field-au-shortbio"> <div class="field-label">One-Line Biography:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> John Hilary is Executive Director of War on Want and author of The Poverty of Capitalism: Economic Meltdown and the Struggle for What Comes Next (2013). </div> </div> </div> John Hilary Tue, 21 Jan 2014 12:02:12 +0000 John Hilary 78599 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Why this year’s Davos could be bad for our health https://www.opendemocracy.net/ournhs/john-hilary/why-this-year%E2%80%99s-davos-could-be-bad-for-our-health <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>E<span style="line-height: 1.5;">U and US trade barons should enjoy the rarified air of Davos while they can. They have stormy times ahead.</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;</span></p> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoNormal"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/549093/DAvos_0.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/549093/DAvos_0.jpg" alt="" title="" width="400" height="262" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span><em>Image: World Economic Forum</em></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span>Tomorrow sees the start of the World Economic Forum, the annual Davos gathering at which the transnational capitalist class looks to the year ahead and celebrates its continuing domination of the global economy. Open only to invited guests from the highest echelons of the corporate and government elite, the event sees no need to be modest in its pretensions. This year’s forum is entitled simply ‘The Reshaping of the World’.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal">Two Davos participants who are definitely seeking to reshape the world over the coming year are US Trade Representative Michael Froman and his European counterpart Karel de Gucht. The two men will discuss how they can complete negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) by the summer of 2015, an ambitious task given the time usually taken by trade negotiations.</p><p class="MsoNormal">If they succeed, the deal will change the way in which we order our social existence forever.</p><p class="MsoNormal">The TTIP talks have been taking place, in secret, between the European Commission and the US government since July of last year.</p><p class="MsoNormal">TTIP is not a traditional trade agreement aimed at reducing tariffs on imports between trading partners. Tariffs between the EU and USA are already minimal.</p><p class="MsoNormal">Officials from both sides acknowledge that the main aim of TTIP is instead to remove regulatory ‘barriers’ which restrict the potential profits to be made by transnational corporations in US and European markets alike.</p><p class="MsoNormal">This deregulation agenda includes the removal of key social and environmental standards such as labour rights, food safety rules (including on genetically modified organisms), controls on the use of toxic chemicals, data protection laws and even the new banking safeguards introduced to prevent a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis.</p><p class="MsoNormal">The stated aim is ‘harmonising’ regulations from either side of the Atlantic. This poses a particular threat to those of us who live in Europe, as EU social and environmental standards are far higher than those in the USA. Government officials have confirmed there is <em>no chance</em> of any upwards harmonisation of standards through TTIP.</p><p class="MsoNormal">The only way is down.</p><p class="MsoNormal">But TTIP is not just about deregulation. TTIP also seeks to create new markets for the private sector by opening up public services and government procurement contracts to unrestricted competition from transnational corporations. This in turn threatens to introduce a further wave of privatisations in key sectors such as health and education, allowing overseas companies permanent access to parts of our social life that have previously been beyond their reach.</p><p class="MsoNormal">European public services were previously excluded from the free trade agreements of the World Trade Organisation, thanks to a special exemption engineered by EU officials in the 1990s. This ‘public utilities’ exemption has up to now allowed EU member states to maintain public monopolies in key sectors without having to open them up to competition from private providers. Without this essential protection, public services like health, education and water would have had no choice but to be thrown open to competition from across the world.</p><p class="MsoNormal">Three years ago, however, the European Commission quietly announced that it planned to abandon this exemption in trade talks. According to the Commission, protecting public services from competition was an outdated concept, and the private sector should be allowed to bid for public service contracts as a matter of course. From now on, they said, only security services such as the judiciary, border policing and air traffic control should be excluded from trade talks. Everything else is fair game.</p><p class="MsoNormal">This is music to the ears of the US government and its private sector friends, who see the public health systems of Europe as a vast and enticing business opportunity waiting to be tapped. It also fits nicely with the privatisation agenda of the British government, which has spent the last three years opening up our own public services to private companies while at the same time starving the public sector of funds.</p><p class="MsoNormal">David Cameron clearly has no need of a Transatlantic trade pact to carry out his privatisation agenda at home. The significance of trade rules is that they are binding on countries that sign up to them, and thus make it impossible to reverse privatisations in the future. Moreover, TTIP turns out to be particularly useful when it comes to rolling out the Tory agenda across the rest of Europe. British government officials have confirmed that one of their goals for TTIP is to ‘complete’ the European single market by forcing open public service and procurement contracts in other EU member states.</p><p class="MsoNormal">Resistance to TTIP’s privatisation and deregulation agenda is now building, as people become aware of the threat that the negotiations pose to so many aspects of their lives. Public health, environmental and social justice campaigners are joining forces with trade unions and consumer groups in both the EU and USA to oppose TTIP and stop the talks. Parliamentarians across Europe have voiced their concerns at the threat posed by TTIP, just as 178 members of the US Congress have written to President Obama rejecting his call for ‘fast track’ authority to press ahead with the negotiations.</p><p class="MsoNormal">And the campaign has already registered its first victory. Just yesterday it was revealed that European trade commissioner Karel de Gucht is suspending talks on one of the most controversial elements of TTIP: the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism that allows corporations to sue host states before ad hoc arbitration tribunals for actual or potential loss of profits. The European Commission is now calling for a three-month period of public consultation to reassess its position on this aspect of TTIP. But it is pressing ahead with its central deregulation and privatisation agenda regardless.</p><p class="MsoNormal">E<span>U and US trade barons should enjoy the rarified air of Davos while they can. They have stormy times ahead.</span><span>&nbsp;</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span>&nbsp;</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><strong><em><span>If you liked this piece, you can sign up for OurNHS’s weekly update<span>&nbsp;</span></span></em></strong><a href="http://eepurl.com/uZeSf"><strong><em><span>here</span></em></strong></a><strong><em><span>, join our Facebook<span>&nbsp;</span></span></em></strong><a href="https://www.facebook.com/OurNHSoD"><strong><em><span>here</span></em></strong></a><strong><em><span> or follow us on Twitter<span>&nbsp;</span></span></em></strong><a href="https://twitter.com/OurNHS_oD"><strong><em><span>here</span></em></strong></a><strong><em><span>.</span></em></strong></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ournhs/gus-fagan/eu-us-free-trade-and-risks-to-nhs">EU-US Free Trade and the risks to the NHS</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/ourkingdom/clive-george/whats-really-driving-eu-us-trade-deal">What&#039;s really driving the EU-US trade deal?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ournhs/corporate-europe-observatory-transnational-institute/transatlantic-corporate-bill-of-rights">A transatlantic corporate bill of rights</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/ournhs/meri-koivusalo/free-trade-trade-creep-and-risks-to-our-public-health">Free Trade, &#039;Trade Creep&#039; and the Risks to our Public Health</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ournhs/ashman/nhs-must-be-exempted-from-useu-free-trade-agreement">The NHS must be exempted from the US/EU Free Trade Agreement</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> ourNHS uk ourNHS EU/US Free Trade John Hilary TTIP Tue, 21 Jan 2014 11:49:30 +0000 John Hilary 78597 at https://www.opendemocracy.net