On 11 Oct 2014, at 09:02, Richard Watkinson wrote:

Just read the morning headlines… any thoughts on TTIP? Will I find an article on your website?

Emile’s reply:

No, you will not find anything on my website specific to TTIP. I am of course strongly in favour of free trade, but am wary of customs unions that create barriers against outsiders, as has been the case in Europe, where free trade is (i) restricted to member states within a de facto customs union, and (ii) applied unevenly to particular categories of goods and services.

As presently constituted the EU’s rules allow free trade within defined limits, eg the CAP is heavily weighted in favour of French agriculture and correspondingly weighted against the removal of subsidies that keep French produce cheap and the produce of non-subsidised products (even within the EU membership, let alone the produce of countries such as Australia) comparatively expensive. This is a mockery of free trade, and its benefits are a mere shadow of the true potential of an arrangement allowing free movement of goods, services, people and capital.

From what I have read I am suspicious of TTIP, which may dispense partial benefits under the free-trade banner, but will allow for the creation of cartels in, say, health services and energy provision that in turn limit the true potential of a free trade agreement. For example, adding EDF to the list of energy-providers such as British Gas or Southern Electric has done nothing to reduce the cost to consumers, and has given massive gains to the cartel members. Regulators have been powerless.

I suspect that there is little in TTIP of an altruistic nature. Rather an opportunity to wring gains out of ill-regulated quasi-monopolistic scavengers.

Am I unduly sceptical? I am of an age where, increasingly, I feel “I’ve seen it all before”!

All best wishes