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TTIP, the EU-US trade deal, could be the biggest threat to democracy of our generation. This is true both at national level, where government policies, such as increasing the minimum wage, or freezing energy prices, could be challenged in secret corporate tribunals, and at local level, where councils could be forced to favour big American corporations over local, sustainable businesses in their procurement. Councils, for example, could be challenged for denying planning permission for fracking in their local area. (Text from http://www.globaljustice.org.uk/)
Examples of how bad these Trade deals can be, and how they just hand over power from the people to the corporations, are highlighted by what happened to Canada after they entered a similar trade deal.
Case study: Oil firms overrule Canadian provinces on oil & gas exploration
Since Canada joined NAFTA, a free trade agreement with the US and Mexico, it has been subject to a barrage of tribunal cases, some of which targeted legitimate regulatory and planning decisions made by local government. For example, Quebec is currently being taken to arbitration for announcing a moratorium on fracking in the province. In another case, US oil giant Exxon Mobil won a case against Canada after the arbitration panel ruled that a regulation in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador forcing the company to spend money of research and development locally was in breach of NAFTA agreements. The fact that this occurred despite the presence of an exclusion negotiated by the Canadians in NAFTA deal shows that all the assurances coming from TTIP negotiators about excluding the NHS might come to nothing.
Another example is how big Tobacco companies tried to sue the Australian government after they introduced plain cigarette packaging in an attempt to reduce smoking and smoking related diseases. Big tobacco were not happy about the loss of revenue that would result so they and other global corporations lobbied hard to include the right of foreign investors to sue governments in the current negotiations for a Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) between the US, Australia, New Zealand and six Asia-Pacific countries.
Some more text about how/why we must stop TTIP etc..