WASHINGTON, May 21 (RIA Novosti) – The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations are secretive and undemocratic, Debbie Barker, International Director at the Washington-based Center for Food Safety told RIA Novosti Wednesday.
“We find it a little ironic that the US and EU, who often pride themselves at being the most democratic, transparent nations, but in this case of the TTIP negotiations, will not release the negotiating texts after each round,” Barker said.
“We’re calling on the EU and US negotiating bodies to release the texts after each round of talks to ensure that we have public transparency and an informed public discourse,” said Barker. “That is the minimum if they want to claim any kind of credibility of being democratic.”
Barker’s primary concern is the possible effects of the agreement on food producers.
European and American negotiators are currently meeting in Arlington, VA for the fifth round of TTIP talks. The free trade agreement, if implemented, would establish trade policy across economic sectors for countries that comprise almost 40 percent of the world’s GDP.
Drafts of agreements that alter national laws have traditionally been made available to the public and elected officials in democratic countries.
According to Barker, “there are approximately 550-600 corporate advisors who are now advising on TTIP negotiations and they have access to the negotiating texts. Yet elected officials have stringent and limited access to the texts.” She has recently presented the findings of the Center for Food Safety to members of the US House Judiciary Committee.
Advocates of TTIP say the agreement will expand trade and investment between the United States and the EU, increase economic growth, jobs, and improve the ability to address geo-economic and geopolitical challenges.
However, Barker is skeptical of the data used to calculate those advantages. “Because the negotiating texts are secret, we don’t have data, and they don’t provide the data on which they’re basing these claims,” she said.