TAFTA stands for Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement and is also known as TTIP, which stands for Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. It is being negotiated between the European Union and the United States of America. Although it calls itself a free-trade agreement, it covers many more issues other than trade. It touches for instance on questions related to copyright, and data protection, and introduces a system of investory-state dispute settlement (ISDS).
Negotiations started in July 2013, one year after ACTA was voted out by the European Parliament. Civil society had called on democratic representatives to introduce stronger protections on copyright, patents and trademarks in the EU, especially with regard to its demands in the TAFTA negotiations. Moreover, the negotiations of ACTA, and now TAFTA, are predominantely done in obscurity, seriously weaking any oversight by civil society.
There have been calls following the Snowden revelations to ensure that data protection not be negotiated in TAFTA.
It is essential that citizens make their voices heard and act to prevent that this new trade agreement undermines our fundamental freedom and a free and open Internet.
When ACTA was voted down by the European Parliament in July 2012 it was due to public opposition to the propositions it contained on copyright. Now TTIP/TAFTA is trying to introduce very similar if not identical propositions. Although officially copies of the text being negotiated were not released, leaks have demonstrated that articles on intellectual property are included in TTIP/TAFTA. This free-trade negotiations address not only questions of copyright however but touch on many other subjects. This is not an exhaustive list, but a list of topics and problems related to it.
- Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS). In order to make it easier for corporations to take states to court in case that they feel a contract was broken, this mechanism would give corporations more power vis-a-vis democratically elected governments.
- Copyright questions. As stated above, TTIP/TAFTA is a kind of ACTA by the backdoor. It appears to contain many of the same clauses as ACTA (link to ACTA dossier).
- Transparency. This is an issue in and of itself. Neither the European Commission nor the United States Trade Representative (USTR) have published official documents and it is therefore difficult for civil society actors to take positions on these negotiations.
- Other issues such as fracking, ...
For a treasure trove of documents on TTIP/TAFTA go here:
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