Protest march over trade deal

November 03 2014

A DEMONSTRATION against an international trade deal took place through Bishopston and Redland last month.

A DEMONSTRATION against an international trade deal took place through Bishopston and Redland last month.
The march, on October 11, coincided with world-wide protests against the 'Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership' (TTIP) - a deal being negotiated between the EU and US to "remove trade barriers in a wide range of economic sectors, making it easier to buy and sell goods and services".
Demonstrators protest that the deal is being made "behind closed doors", and will allow corporations to sue the government for passing laws and policies such as those which set a living wage, or prevent NHS privatisation.
Dozens of people, including Green party MEP for the South West, Molly Scott Cato, gathered at the Gloucester Road Boston Tea Party in the morning before marching down the high street.
The demonstration, which involved protesters handing out leaflets and carrying placards, ended two hours later at Hamilton House in Stokes Croft.
Martin Fodor, Bishopston Green councillor, joined in the march. He said: "Protesters were specifically concerned about the fact that corporations would be allowed to sue governments for loss of profits if a government tries to set a higher standard for minimum pay.
"Saving the NHS from demands for privatisation was another specific issue raised by the campaigners."
He added: "Our government briefs that this is good for small businesses, however, it is designed to benefit the largest corporations and reduce democratic accountability."
Ms Cato wrote on her website: "TTIP not only threatens hard-fought-for standards on the quality and safety of our food and the sources of our energy, but will also open the doors to privatisation of public services and erode workers’ rights.
"Perhaps most worryingly, it would allow businesses to sue governments when they tried to put people or the environment ahead of profits."
According to the European Commission, the EU and the US want to "tackle barriers" behind the customs border – such as differences in technical regulations, standards and approval procedures.
The site states: "These often cost unnecessary time and money for companies who want to sell their products on both markets. For example, when a car is approved as safe in the EU, it has to undergo a new approval procedure in the US even though the safety standards are similar.
"The TTIP negotiations will also look at opening both markets for services, investment, and public procurement. They could also shape global rules on trade."