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US-EU Trade Agreement Gains Exaggerated, Say 41 Consumer Groups, Economist 97

Glyn Moody (946055) writes "The main claims about likely economic gains from concluding the US-EU trade agreement TAFTA/TTIP, billed as a 'once-in-a-generation prize,' are increasingly under attack. BEUC, representing 41 consumer organizations from 31 European countries, has written a letter to the EU Trade Commissioner responsible for the negotiations, Karel De Gucht, complaining about his 'exaggeration of the effects of the TTIP,' and 'use of unsubstantiated figures regarding the job creation potential.' In a blog post entitled 'Why Is It So Acceptable to Lie to Promote Trade Deals?,' Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, has even harsher words: 'Implying that a deal that raises GDP by 0.4 or 0.5 percent 13 years out means "job-creating opportunities for workers on both continents" is just dishonest. The increment to annual growth is on the order of 0.03 percentage points. Good luck finding that in the data.' If the best-case outcome is just 0.03% extra growth per year, is TAFTA/TTIP worth the massive upheavals it will require to both US and EU regulatory systems to achieve that?"
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US-EU Trade Agreement Gains Exaggerated, Say 41 Consumer Groups, Economist

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04, 2014 @09:04AM (#47163549)

    'Why Is It So Acceptable to Lie to Promote Trade Deals?

    For the same reasons that trade deals are negotiated in secret. The general population never benefits, only a few select special interests.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04, 2014 @09:07AM (#47163567)

    The U.S.A. and the European Commission are tired of democracy interfering with corporations. This "Free Trade" treaties will mean that governments are no longer allowed to interfere with multinational corporations: the corporations may conduct business as they have paid their politicians at home to do, and when a local government says "we have human rights and environmental protections over here", then the corporation can sue the government in a corporation-run quasi-court committee and get all the "losses" paid as "penalties".

    Of course it's worth it to those money-grabbing interest groups to extend their power and bypass all democratic control and law.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04, 2014 @09:07AM (#47163569)

    It effectively outlaws nationalised companies by allowing private corporations to sue for profits lost through productive state labour. Since all essential utilities - water, electricity, gas, train, healthcare, telecoms - have got worse since part or total privatisation in the UK, TTIP can get fucked.

    (Telecoms is arguable - it's easy to compare the technology of the early '80s with that of 2014 and say, "Things have improved under private ownership," but in terms of contemporary technical innovation, BT up to 1985 was a leader, whereas today it is an also-ran in bed with its regulator.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04, 2014 @09:23AM (#47163655)

    And, quite frankly, 'free trade' agreements with the US are a joke, because the US doesn't fucking abide by them.

    The US hammers everyone else on agricultural subsidies, and throws billions at corn producers.

    The US bitches about protectionist policies of other countries, and then enacts exceedingly protectionist policies themselves.

    The US pushed IP protections for their stuff, and then ignores those of other countries -- Champagne, for instance, is restricted to mean from the Champagne region in France everywhere but America.

    The US forces other countries to add country of original labeling, while refusing to do it themselves.

    As part of these agreements, the US forces other countries to adopt IP and copyright laws which mostly favor US firms, and which they can't even enact at home.

    'Free' trade with the US is the right to get raped and bullied by the US to promote their interests.

    No country who has enacted a 'free' trade agreement with the US has ever done well with it. Because the US are the most hypocritical, self-serving assholes on the planet when it comes to such things.

    Fuck free trade. Because it's anything but. It's a distorting factor designed to get US companies access to markets which don't want their products.

  • by CrimsonAvenger ( 580665 ) on Wednesday June 04, 2014 @09:38AM (#47163763)

    If youve never tried to buy a car in america, its largely the same. theres no concern for your budget or real money as it pertains to your specific earnings. The entire event is predicated with an understanding that you as a customer will finance your purchase, so there isnt much to stop a sale aside from gas prices. youll be sold on christlike reliability and power, and fuel economy where applicable. Big questions like maintenance costs and carbon footprint are avoided.

    Here's a useful clue: buying a car isn't about the dealer knowing your budget or personal finances, it's about YOU knowing your budget and personal finances.

    If you take care of the "can I actually afford this?" part, then the dealer is not in any position to screw you on cost.

    Ditto, reliability, power, fuel economy, maintenance cost, carbon footprint. YOU do your research (yes, there are sources for this information that are NOT car dealers or manufacturers), and then make your decision about what's important to you, rather than standing stupidly by while a car dealer tells you what you want.

    Note that this general rule applies to everything in life that you might want to buy - the seller is NOT in the business of thinking of YOUR best interests, he's thinking of HIS best interests. Do a little research, make a few key decisions (like an upper limit on what you're willing to pay for something), and then STICK TO IT, rather than letting yourself be conned by the enemy....

  • by Godwin O'Hitler ( 205945 ) on Wednesday June 04, 2014 @10:46AM (#47164223) Journal

    Champagne is a retroactive trademark. I don't blame anyone for saying "fuck you" to a trademark that suddenly exists after 200 years of generic use.

  • by N1AK ( 864906 ) on Wednesday June 04, 2014 @11:34AM (#47164697) Homepage

    Champagne is a retroactive trademark. I don't blame anyone for saying "fuck you" to a trademark that suddenly exists after 200 years of generic use.

    I wouldn't mourn them going but they aren't generic trademarks. Where is the harm in saying that Kölsch has to be made in the designated area around Köln. Nothing stops anyone else from making the same beer and calling it anything else that they want, even "Kölsch Style" I believe. That way when I buy Kölsch I know I'm getting it from that locality and produced to the specifications agreed upon.

    I rarely buy parmesan because other italian hard cheeses do the job just as well and tend to cost less; I'm not being denied choice, nor is anyone being stopped from producing goods, because the EU means that the cheese has to be from the parma region to be called parmesan. The fact that in America a cheese can be named after a place, and neither be from that place or be anything like cheese from that place so consumers can't trust a word manufacturers say isn't a selling point ;)

Logic is a pretty flower that smells bad.