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Guest Op-Ed: Why we shouldn’t go through with TAFTA

Emma Vitureira, Guest Op-Ed Writer

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I have always prided myself on being informed of current events. I enjoy learning about the motivations and methods in which countries act “on behalf of their people”. Some agreements seem good, others not so good. Today we will be discussing TAFTA, a Free Trade Agreement between the EU and the US.

A Free Trade Agreement is supposed to make trading between two countries easier, to promote the economy and increase jobs, wealth among the poor, and create a general happy attitude between the countries. TAFTA seems good in context, but in reality, is a disastrous agreement that destroys democratic standings in both Europe and the United States. It also affects the standards in which our food is processed, our already lacking healthcare system, and our deteriorating environment.  Let me break it down for you:

Big corporations are always looking for ways to cut corners and make their products cheaper, but their profits larger. Because big corporations already have a ton of money to throw around, they pay people (lobbyists) to go to congress and convince them that certain basic laws don’t need to be passed (at a price for the congressperson of course). So, congressmen gather around and convince their other corporately funded congress-friends and have them all hop on the anti-whatever law.

This is also known as piggybacking, as most of the time, in order to convince another congressman, there’s a line or two added that benefits their specific corporate backing. But most of us, at least the ones who pay attention, already knew this. The more important part comes next:

TTIP is the biggest case of piggybacking there is. Every person in support of TTIP wants a different aspect to pass. Some examples include, lowering tariffs between the EU and USA (not bad) as well as lowering the EU’s food and chemical standards so the USA can send them potentially harmful/diseased/hormone fed meat and chemicals (very bad).

Ironically when you compare the wants and demands that the European Council has posted on their website, and the wants and demands that the United States Trade Representative has posted on his website, they are completely different. Who knew that America would be stubborn? The European Council says that it will never lower its standards only raise them, but America says that their standards are fine and they will refuse to raise them (We can see which government actually cares for its citizens, at least a semod).

Fun fact: Did you know that the USA has banned around 15 chemicals, where the EU has banned thousands?

Some people say that this won’t matter, the EU says they won’t lower their chemical standards. Ok, but let’s quickly look at some other aspects of the trade agreement. Some sources say that because the tariffs are lowered, labor can increase in the EU and US as products will be cheaper and companies will have more money to afford more workers. But, if you remember from earlier in this article, big corporations like to spend as little money as they can.

If you look at the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), there was a very similar situation. This was a Free Trade Agreement between the US, Canada, and Mexico, that was put into place over 20 years ago. When Public Citizen revisited NAFTA and reviewed the outcome of its regulation, it was discovered that over a million US jobs were lost, wages declined, trade deficits emerged, hunger, homelessness, and poverty increased in Mexico, and the US income inequality reached new extremes.

Now, please tell me how TAFTA/TTIP, a very very similar trade agreement to NAFTA, will be good for our country?

Emma Vitureira is a graduate of WHRHS. She studies Global Politics and Sculpture at Bennington College in Vermont. She is also a Transnational Institute intern.

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Guest Op-Ed: Why we shouldn’t go through with TAFTA