21.10.2015 | Trade Justice Movement

TTIPing Away the Ladder

The report, TTIPing Away the Ladder, argues that any potential progress made by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) would be fatally undermined by the impacts of a proposed free trade deal between the EU and USA - the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). It shows that:

  • TTIP contradicts the central SDG aim of levelling the playing field for developing countries. The SDGs recognise that this can only be achieved if developing countries have an equal decision making role in global economic and financial institutions. They also specifically recognise that developing countries need a stronger voice in trade negotiations. TTIP, the biggest trade deal we've ever seen, explicitly intended by the EU and US as a global blueprint for trade, is the antithesis of this. Developing countries will not have a seat at the TTIP table, where the future of trade policy is being decided.
  • TTIP threatens to close down the policy space available to developing countries for achieving the SDGs. Experience of the 20th century tells us that there is no 'one-size-fits-all' model of development. TTIP favours a narrow, market-led approach to everything from intellectual property rights (patents) to services and industrial development. If the deal is agreed, the pressure on developing countries to conform to this model will be enormous.
  • The EU and US are huge trading partners and sources of investment for developing countries and developing countries are engaged in a number of Free Trade Agreements or negotiations with the EU and US. This will mean increasing pressure for them to conform to rules agreed in TTIP. A consolidated position between the EU and US will also make it much harder for them to pursue their priorities at a multilateral level.
  • TTIP threatens to undermine three key SDGs. The first is for developing countries to improve their ability to trade: DFID's own study suggests significant export losses for countries like Bangladesh, Niger and Ghana. The second is the impact on climate targets: not only will TTIP lead to higher emissions overall, it also blocks a number of policies needed for achieving the targets. Finally, it threatens to undermine health goals by strengthening the market dominance of pharmaceuticals companies, making it more likely that medicines for diseases such as TB and HIV will either be unavailable or unaffordable.