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Is it good or bad for Europe?

On Saturday, an estimated 30,000 people assembled to protest TTIP, or the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, an upcoming trade deal between the United States and the EU.

President Obama seems unable to have a low key trip to Europe this week. He has spent the past few days in London, surrounded by Brexit comment controversy, and now he is headed to Germany, where protests have erupted.

President Obama is in Germany as a final push for a trade deal that the US wants signed by the end of the year.


The protesters were against the agreement, because they feel it will erode consumer protection and workers rights, which are far stronger in Germany than they are in the United States.


What is TTIP?

TTIP is a massive trade agreement between the United States and the European Union This agreement would reduce trade barriers between the two largest economies of the world, and it encompasses one-third of the global economy.

There are claims that the trade deal will add around 100 billion dollars to the US economy, and 125 billion dollars to the EU economy, however due to the secret nature of the agreement, these claims remain unsubstantiated to the general public.

The deal will cover financial services, the chemicals industry, textiles, cars, pharmaceuticals, information technology, and more. TTIP also has sections to protect intellectual property.

Agreements like these take years, even decades to negotiate. It involves dozens of countries and thousands of special interests. The idea of a transatlantic partnership began in the 1990s, but the negotiations for TTIP only began in 2013, and are expected to extend into 2020.


What is good about TTIP?


Why are people protesting TTIP?


The major problem with TTIP is that we have no idea what exactly is in the agreement. Will it benefit the US and the EU? Probably. It will definitely benefit US and EU corporations. But the real question is whether it will provide real benefit to the people, ordinary citizens. Economist Dean Baker said that the average benefit to an ordinary household will be around $50 per year. This seems to be an extraordinary amount of work for so little a result for the ordinary citizen. Again, the problem is that we have no clue at all what is being said, and what this deal will actually mean. This is why people are protesting. They want to know what this means before it is too late.


Photo: Flickr: Mehr Demokratie