Free trade agree­ments (TTIP, CETA, TISA and others)

30 October 2015

The Party for the Animals is against free trade at the expense of the environment, animal welfare, food security, human rights and privacy.

The Party for the Animals believes trade is inferior to moral principles. Human rights and sustainability should not yield to short-term economic interests. The Party for the Animals is against free trade agreements because they undermine democracy and are likely to have major negative consequences for the environment, animal welfare, public health and consumers’ privacy and freedom of choice.

The Party for the Animals is deeply concerned about plans to conclude a free trade agreement between the European Union and the US, the so-called TTIP. This agreement will have far-reaching consequences for the environment, animal welfare, public health and consumers’ freedom of choice, especially in the fields of agriculture and food. Harmonising product standards and safety regulations according to TTIP will lead to the degradation of European standards, including those on environmental and animal welfare issues.

In the TTIP negotiations, harmonising regulations regarding privacy and the protection of intellectual property is also under discussion. This will entail a reduction in the protection of citizens, consumers, farmers and companies within the European Union. Moreover, the protection of investors through ISDS (Investor State Dispute Settlement) will undermine the democratically established laws and regulations that are in effect in the Netherlands and the EU today, and seriously limit the democratic possibilities of reviewing and strengthening our policies. This so-called arbitration instrument (ISDS) effectively puts an end to the authorisation of national parliaments to make environmental laws on behalf of the population. This clause gives corporations the right to sue governments for, among other things, environmental measures that may harm the industry economically. Our own regulations and judges are put out of action for the economic interest of multinationals. The Party for the Animals is strongly opposed to ISDS.

CETA, a free trade agreement between Canada and the EU, is also a source of great concern to the Party for the Animals. For the last few years, negotiations about CETA have taken place behind closed doors, and now this agreement has been signed by Canada and the EU. The European Union goes as far as wanting to prevent member states from having any say in the matter. CETA will make it impossible to lay down any conditions regarding products entering the EU from Canada. To the Party for the Animals, that is unacceptable.

The Party for the Animals was the first party in Dutch Parliament to sound the alarm about these free trade agreements. In various debates we have called for attention to the major consequences that the concluding of these trade agreements will have on the environment, animal welfare, developing countries, the European agricultural sector, our privacy, and other most unwanted effects.

The Party for the Animals will remain a strong opponent of the trade agreement between the EU and the US.