Thank you for your email enquiry regarding the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. I facilitated a 38 Degree day of action on TTIP in Sudbury last year as I am, like you opposed to it. I believe that it poses a real threat to societies like ours where Government has a key role in working towards social equity, fostering environmental protection and in the protection of public health.
As a 38 Degree activist I joined some of you on Saturday in Sudbury and Hadleigh with the petition to protect the NHS from privatisation. Since this coalition over £7 billion of NHS contracts have been given to the private sector. The election in May is crucial.
I'm afraid thought that I cannot, at this stage specify the action I propose to take on TTIP if elected to parliament. That will depend on what opportunities and initiatives arise to challenge it on both the impact it will have on public services like the NHS and the implications of the Investor to State Dispute Settlement.
I can, however, assure you that I have and will continue to follow TTIP developments and persist in my opposition to their favouring of so-called 'free trade' over public services and corporate interests over the democratic authority of elected governments.
I am in principle in favour of free trade and fair, competitive markets as tools. Competition can provide a valuable incentive for innovation and development. The economic interdependency of trade can be a valuable contributor to international stability and peace.
Currently, however, neither international trade nor many markets are really free. Trade is dominated by the developed west, by corporate oligopolies and conducted on terms set by supranational institutions - the World Trade Organisation, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank. This has been the structure of global finance since the demise of the Bretton Woods agreement in the early 1970s - this ended the idea of national government having any control over foreign investment.
It is a structure that has promoted the financial and corporate interests of the developed world over those of the developing world. The powerful dictating how the poorest must develop. Terms of borrowing have been conditional on developing nations putting the restructuring of their economies along lines set by the IMF in front of providing basics for their people.
For evidence of the impacts of this 'free trade’ we can look to the cities on the Mexican side of the US.Southern border. The impact of North American Free Trade Agreement there has shifted manufacturing assembly to maquiladoras - new production units - in places like Juarez. Parts are shipped in, then shipped out as goods, to the U.S. and worldwide. These parts are assembled by predominantly female migrant Mexican labourers who live in shanty towns and slums.
Because you have written to me you understand that this affects us in the UK. I wondered though, if you realised how close to home we have seen the impacts. During the early 2000s, Delphi, one of Sudbury's main employers (which laid off, without notice, around 90 temporary workers just before Christmas) took advantage of the Mexican government subsidised maquiladora factories. Free competition here is a race to the bottom without regard for humane labour standards and living conditions.
For me TTIP represents but one of the latest steps to further consolidate this structure. What were once national public services are to be prised open as opportunities for the profit of corporations and finance. So I am opposed because we need to succeed in halting its progress. We do though need to work for a fundamentally different structure for sustainable and ethical global trade in the longer term.
Thank you so much for taking the time to contact me and please do get back to me with any further queries.
Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate
M: 07811 064522
Promoted by David Plowman of 19 Holly Blue Close, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP8 3TD on behalf of Jane Basham of 1 High Street, Hadleigh, Suffolk, IP7 5AH