European Trade Unionists Oppose Corporate Trade Deals

International Union of Food Workers [IUF]

250,000 demonstrate in Berlin to say ‘No to trade deals that threaten democracy’

Citizens across Europe took to the streets on October 10 to show their opposition to three pernicious trade and investment deals that threaten democracy: TTIP (EU/US), CETA (EU/Canada) and the TISA agreement on services driven by the world’s wealthiest countries.

Demonstrations were held across Europe in a week of action which including delivering a petition signed by three million EU citizens to the European Commission calling on the Commission to reverse its support for the deals and hold a hearing in the European Parliament. The Commission has rejected the petition [1].

Over a quarter-million German and European citizens, trade unionists and civil society organizations marched and rallied in Berlin.
TTIPCGIL
A large delegation from the IUF-affiliated Italian food workers union FLAI-CGIL was among the  international trade unions that travelled to Berlin to show their opposition and solidarity.

The over 1,600 page EU-Canada CETA contains many of the toxic features which have united opponents to the TTIP: investor-to-state lawsuits which allow corporations to bypass national courts and directly sue governments in secret tribunals, opening public procurement and services to transnational investors and locking in privatization, and corporate gains on intellectual property which impact directly on, for example, food and pharmaceuticals. Because Canada does not have the economic weight or political resonance of the US, the wider threat CETA poses has been underappreciated. Virtually every significant US transnational has subsidiaries in Canada which can make use of its provisions. And TNCs based outside Canada and the EU can, under certain circumstances, invoke most favored nation clauses in the global web of trade agreements [2] to demand similar powers vis-à-vis Canada and the EU. CETA needs to be exposed and defeated with the same focus which has united opponents to TTIP and to the now signed but not yet ratified TPP involving the US, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and a group of Pacific nations.

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