Several voters in the Chippenham constituency have contacted me with their concerns about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations between the European Union (EU) and the United States, the eighth round of which are being held from 2nd to 6th February in Brussels.
According to the European Commission, the aim of the agreement is to create growth and jobs on both sides of the Atlantic by removing trade barriers. However, there are already only minimal tariffs between the EU and the US, so this is a smokescreen for other agendas, such as opening up European public services to rapacious corporate investors. This could pave the way for US medicare companies buying up parts of our NHS.
Indeed, the treaty, which is being negotiated in secret, will allow private corporations to sue democratic governments over policy decisions that impact upon their profits.
There are also concerns that Britain would lose its ability to block the import of US Frankenstein foods, such as genetically modified meat and plants.
Stronger trade between the US and the EU, including Britain would be a good thing, but only if we can defend the NHS by opting our health service out of any agreement, and if we can preserve our democratic sovereignty, so that we the people, and our elected governments can decide the limits of what corporations can do, and not the other way around, where big business dictates to the people.