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10 July 2014
Lobbyland: corporate-capture of TTIP talks revealed
Two reports released this week demonstrate the depth and scale of the industry-driven TTIP agenda, following access-to-document requests from both Friends of the Earth Europe and the Corporate Europe Observatory.
The reports reveal the extent at which corporations have lobbied the Commission and dominated the stakeholder input process for the EU-US trade talks, at the expense of public interest groups.
‘The responses reveal an overwhelming influence of industry lobby groups on the trade negotiations, reflecting the intimate working relationships between key decision-makers in the European Commission trade negotiators and powerful lobby groups.’ says Friends of the Earth, who have published a series of charts that breakdown the numbers of TTIP meetings held by different DGs in the run into negotiations. They show that, with the exception of DG ENVIRO, the majority of meetings held with external stakeholders were with business representatives.
A similar picture is shown through work compiled by CEO, who state that:
Of the 560 lobby encounters that DG Trade held to prepare the negotiations, 520 (92%) were with business lobbyists, while only 26 (4%) were with public interest groups. So, for every encounter with a trade union or consumer group, there were 20 with companies and industry federations.
The negotiations, which continue in Brussels on Monday and have reached the year mark, have been mired in controversy in recent months, with civil society organisations across Europe and the US continuing to expose details of the secretive negotiations. Earlier in the year the Washington Post showcased the “corporate-heavy” trade advisory system in the US which has been criticised by members of Congress for its lack of public transparency. This follows on from earlier work by CEO in September 2013 which noted that out 130 TTIP meetings held by the Commission, 119 were with industry.
In recent days, evidence has been brought to light indicating that EU Commission has pressured the US to lift the ban on crude oil exports, a move US Senator Edward J. Markey said was “not the answer for anyone but oil companies.”
The EU has also been criticised for attempting to undermine key financial regulatory reforms in the US at the behest of the European financial industry. These are just two examples of where big business are set to benefit greatly from TTIP at the expense of the public good.
CEO have also focused on the agribusiness sector showing that food multinationals have taken the largest share of Commission lobbying efforts for TTIP. There are fears such efforts have resulted in a corporate capture of the TTIP agenda, driven by some of the largest companies operating in both regions. It is likely to further add to calls for greater transparency in the negotiations, and may even risk stalling the deal altogether if efforts are not made to address public concerns surrounding its secrecy.
Friends of the Earth: Who is driving the EU-US trade talks.
Corporate Europe Observatory: Who lobbies the most on TTIP?