TTIP “Trade” Regime Would Let EU Meddle in U.S. Policy

Written by  Wednesday, 23 March 2016 18:00

In addition to imposing an expanded transnational regulatory and judicial regime that would further erode U.S. national sovereignty and self-government, the controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) would give Big Business cronies even more power over U.S. and European Union policy. If approved, it would also allow the European Union to meddle in U.S. governance, and vice versa. That is according to an explosive section from the negotiating TTIP agreement that was leaked last week obtained by an establishment-funded anti-cronyism organization. It has since been released by the EU. Outrage quickly ensued.

Virtually all of the press so far has focused on the implications for Europe. However, the scheming will have major effects on the U.S. regulatory regime as well. Among other changes, the relevant section of the agreement would force the EU to consult the U.S. government before adopting “legislative” or regulatory proposals. It would also commit U.S. authorities to consulting with Brussels before moving forward on legislation or regulatory schemes across a wide array of subject areas. The U.S. Congress and elected European bodies would then be further sidelined as the two executive branches increasingly rule Americans and Europeans by lobbyist-influenced decree.   

Under the scheme, the insatiable regulatory bureaucracies of the EU and the U.S. government agree to “aim at achieving common or compatible regulatory measures." "To this end, regulatory authorities of either side will have the opportunity to propose to the regulatory authorities of the other side particular steps to deepen existing cooperation or to start new cooperation,” the draft scheme explains. When it comes to providing notice of new decrees and providing “cooperation opportunities,” U.S. regulatory bodies would have to alert European bureaucrats, also known as “eurocrats,” before even alerting the American people.

When either side is amending existing policies or making new ones that might affect the cooperation between Washington, D.C., and Brussels, they must “provide each other opportunities for cooperation and information exchange, at the earliest possible stage to allow for the responsible regulatory authorities of both parties to discuss regulatory objectives and options and any other related issue.” The document also purports to commit both sides to taking into account the other party's regulatory schemes when adopting or planning their own. In the EU, eurocrats regulate everything from the shape of agricultural produce and your table at a restaurant to the steps at your apartment and the content of your speech.

The objectives of the chapter of the TTIP regime, according to the proposal, include establishing and reinforcing “bilateral regulatory cooperation in areas where the Parties identify common interests.” Also a goal is to harmonize the regulatory regime by, among other strategies, “promoting convergence.” But EU-U.S. government convergence is not enough, with the scheme also calling for the “development and implementation of internationally agreed regulatory documents in order to achieve consistent regulatory outcomes with each other and with third countries.”

The document calls for regulatory cooperation on anything that affects trade or investment, including financial services. And everything that might affect “trade” or “investment” comes under the purview of the new regime being created. Because essentially everything can be said to affect those things — a lawless U.S. Supreme Court once upheld a decree prohibiting a farmer from growing wheat on his own land under the absurd rationale that it affected “interstate commerce” — essentially everything will come under the purview of the TTIP's regulatory regime.

In addition to usurping more power, the bureaucracy is about to get bigger as well. “An effective coordination structure will have to be set up to monitor and enhance progress in ongoing co-operation activities,” says the text, adding that the “institutional structure” being imposed on the United States and Europe will not replace “any domestic EU nor U.S. regulatory procedures which will be needed to implement regulatory cooperation initiatives.” Flipping the concept of rights as understood in the West for over 1,000 years, the text also speaks of a “right to regulate,” as if bureaucrats had some God-given right to impose their will on the public under the guise of doing it for the public's benefit. It also claims the EU is “sovereign,” treating EU members as subordinate administrative units.

As far as “public participation” in this whole autocratic regime goes, gone are the days when voters elected people to represent them who were strictly limited in what they could do by mechanisms such as the U.S. Constitution. Members of the public will be given an opportunity to “present their views” on the growing deluge of rules and regulations governing every aspect of their existence, the text says. But that is about it.

Special interests and lobbyists will get to participate, though. “Each Party shall consult on the Joint Annual Regulatory Cooperation Program with a domestic Advisory Group composed by business …  trade unions and public interest groups, ensuring a balanced representation of all interests concerned,” the text says. In short, Big Business, Big Labor, and establishment-funded “Civil Society” AstroTurf groups will all work with bureaucrats to impose new decrees on Americans and Europeans. The people and their elected representatives, meanwhile, will be expected to simply submit and pay for the whole charade.

Indeed, the two governments speak of each other and themselves throughout the document as if they were totalitarian bodies with no limits on their power. For example, the document purports to allow the U.S. government and the EU to “adopt, maintain and apply measures without delay, in accordance with deadlines under its respective regulatory or administrative procedures, to achieve its public policy objectives.” The EU may be free to impose whatever it wants however it wants, thanks to its deception and its imposition of unpopular treaties on Europeans against their will. However, even though in practice the same sort of rule by regulatory edict takes place here, the U.S. Constitution expressly forbids it.

The proposal also purports to allow the EU and the U.S. government to “provide or support services” in everything from water and healthcare to education and social services. Again, the U.S. Constitution delegates no power to the federal government on any of those matters, regardless of what a treaty with a foreign entity such as the EU purports to permit.

Separately, the document defines “regulatory measures” in the United States as “agency statements of general and future effect designed to … prescribe law or policy” coming from the federal executive branch. The Constitution, of course, grants all federal legislative power to the U.S. Congress, and none to the executive branch.

Most of the press coverage on the document thus far has focused on the threat the schemes pose to European “law,” which is already made largely by unelected bureaucrats with help from lobbyists. EU “law,” which makes up the overwhelming majority of the laws today governing the lives of disenfranchised Europeans, is generally created by the autocratic and unelected European Commission. From there, like in communist dictatorships, it gets rubber-stamped by the European pseudo-Parliament before being imposed on the people of Europe.

If the TTIP goes through, this autocratic entity known as the EU would obtain more influence over U.S. policy, further eroding the unique system of self-government enshrined by the Founders aimed at preserving constitutionally protected, God-given individual rights. Under the changes envisioned with the TTIP regime, the U.S. government would also get some say over the EU's opaque and lawless policy-making process. Big Business lobbyists and cronies would also get additional influence. The public, though, would still have virtually no say.

In a statement signed by 45 mostly European groups led by the Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO), so-called non-governmental organizations (NGOs) expressed outrage about what they called the “institutionalization of lobbying,” among other problems. “The proposal makes it possible for the U.S. to exert undue influence at a very early stage of decision-making, before any proposal is considered by elected bodies, namely the [EU] Council and the European Parliament,” said the statement, addressed to EU Trade Commissar Cecilia Malmström. “The proposal provides big business groups with the tools to influence legislation that they have been demanding.”

“The new proposal clearly identifies the European Commission and U.S. regulatory agencies as drivers and responsible actors for transatlantic regulatory cooperation,” the alliance of groups said. “The question of how it is supposed to function is postponed until after the ratification of TTIP and thus to a moment when it gets less public attention is on it. So we see no major improvement here. It implies an unacceptable power grab by the Commission, strengthens the U.S. impact on EU regulation and weakens the role of the European Parliament. Even though the proposal does not contain a Regulatory Cooperation Body (RCB) any longer, its functions still remain.”

The groups also lambaste the “immense powers” the deal purports to grant to “regulatory authorities” when it comes to transatlantic cooperation and beyond. Separately, the alliance of organizations criticized what they called the “importation of elements of the U.S. regulatory system to the EU.” They also called for TTIP negotiations to be ended, “as trade agreements are not the appropriate fora to decide on our public interest laws.”

There are some caveats to mention on the opposition to the scheming within the EU. While the group leading the effort does not accept money from taxpayers of the EU or its member governments, it is funded by numerous establishment outfits that would raise alarm bells in the United States. Among the financiers of the group is the Open Society Initiative for Europe, funded by billionaire globalist George Soros. Another financial supporter is the infamous Rockefeller Brothers Fund of the globalist Rockefeller oil and banking dynasty. Many of the groups that have joined the bandwagon are also controlled by the establishment. Others are run by radical leftists or pseudo-environmentalists.

But stopping the scheme is important. Despite what TTIP negotiators may believe, the U.S. government cannot usurp new extra-constitutional powers or surrender American sovereignty merely by signing a treaty — much less by signing a treaty with an illegitimate entity such as the EU that has lied to and defied the people of Europe in order to consolidate power. Even if it were constitutional, though, it would be a terrible idea. The Republican-controlled Congress has already purported to surrender its delegated authority to regulate foreign trade by giving Obama “Fast-Track Authority” to impose what critics refer to as “ObamaTrade.” However, lawmakers can still stop it. For the sake of liberty, prosperity, self-government, and sovereignty, they must.

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Alex Newman, a foreign correspondent for The New American, is normally based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @ALEXNEWMAN_JOU. He can be reached at anewman​@​thenewamerican.com.

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