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06.02.2018

ZDFZOOM: FREE TRADE CONFIDENTIAL

"WHO WILL BENEFIT FROM THE TRANSATLANTIC AGREEMENT?” KERSTEN SCHÜßLER ADDRESSES THIS QUESTION IN THE VENTANA PRODUCTION "FREE TRADE CONFIDENTIAL”.


A film by Kersten Schüßler

28 minutes

ZDFzoom, May 2014

Top managers in Germany and EU officials in Brussels are praising "the biggest economic deal in history". Even in Washington, one is certain that the planned free trade agreement between the EU and the US will bring growth, jobs and prosperity to 800 million people.

However, observers are becoming more alarmed and doubtful as the negotiations progress. Starting with the fact that the transatlantic free trade agreement (TTIP) is being discussed by US and EU economic giants behind closed doors. Through this grand deal, the economy will be greatly influenced, and large corporations will grow immensely. 

The focus seems to be far from what is classically understood as free trade, such as eliminating already low tariffs. Instead, the sights are set on standards that concern all the consumers, such as how cars must be equipped in the future or how food is produced. 

There are worlds between the USA and the EU concerning the agricultural sector. What is considered a complete nightmare for consumer protection in Germany is doable beyond the Atlantic. For example, the use of growth hormones, highly toxic chemicals to even genetically modified animals. The hurdles in exporting many of these products to the EU are still high. However, officials in Brussels and Washington are negotiating ways to abolish "trade barriers" in order to standardize the transatlantic market as far as possible.

A particularly sensitive issue concerns investor protection issues. US corporations will be able to sue European states in the future and put pressure on their legislation as soon as they feel they are at a disadvantage by a new national law.

And yet, the responsible EU trade commissioner promotes the agreement and sees it as a historic opportunity for Europe. As for the critics, they see the price to be paid, namely the massive curtailing of consumer protection and democracy. A prominent figure reportedly said, what came as a harmless trade agreement, is nothing more than a “coup in slow motion” 

According to the head of a transatlantic think tank in Washington, the US negotiated the ongoing talks from a position of power. The US threatens that if Europe were not ready for such an agreement, they would turn to China.

(Text: ZDF)


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