Ac­tivists in fight to stop trade deal

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - KAREN BRIT­TON

AGROUP of ac­tivists against a transat­lantic trade deal which they say threat­ens Mac­cles­field’s busi­nesses and ser­vices have taken their fight to the coun­cil.

Mem­bers from Global Jus­tice Mac­cles­field ad­dressed all coun­cil­lors at the lat­est full coun­cil meet­ing about a new trade deal be­tween the EU and USA which they say is ‘un­demo­cratic’ and ul­ti­mately poses a risk to Mac­cles­field res­i­dents.

John Allen, from the group, raised con­cerns about the TTIP (Transat­lantic Trade and In­vest­ment Part­ner­ship) which is be­ing ne­go­ti­ated be­tween the EU and US to cut trade tar­iffs and ease regulation to make trade eas­ier be­tween the two mar­kets.

Sup­port­ers say

it will mak­ing goods cheaper and help busi­nesses by open­ing up mar­kets.

But there’s been a mas­sive pub­lic back­lash, with op­po­nents say­ing the deal could in fact threaten small busi­nesses fac­ing com­pe­ti­tion from cor­po­ra­tions and lead to the pri­vati­sa­tion of the NHS.

Much of the con­cern is about a drop in EU food and en­vi­ron­men­tal stan­dards in line with more re­laxed rules in the US.

Global Jus­tice Mac­cles­field, which has more than 40 mem­bers and has been cam­paign­ing in the town, says this could have a real im­pact on Mac­cles­field.

John Allen, from Global Jus­tice Mac­cles­field, said: “TTIP is an anti-demo­cratic trade deal and we should be deeply con­cerned about this.

“One of the most toxic aspects of TTIP is the in­clu­sion of se­cret and un­ac­count­able cor­po­rate tri­bunals which will al­low cor­po­ra­tions to sue lo­cal and na­tional govern­ment if de­ci­sions are made that af­fects their prof­its.”

The group wants Cheshire East Coun­cil to de­clare it­self a TTIP Free Zone like other coun­cils.

Natalie Ab­bott, from Global Jus­tice Mac­cles­field, said: “Cheshire East will be af­fected dra­mat­i­cally by TTIP. It will af­fect the ser­vices we re­ceive and stop the coun­cil award­ing con­tracts to lo­cal in­de­pen­dent sup­pli­ers, which will make Mac­cles­field poorer.

“Small busi­nesses will be af­fected be­cause they will come un­der in­creased, un­fair pres­sure from much larger com­pa­nies so many of our bril­liant lo­cal in­de­pen­dent shops and pro­duc­ers will dis­ap­pear.”

A mo­tion by coun­cil­lors Janet Jack­son and Alift Hare­wood call­ing on the coun­cil to write to the Sec­re­tary of State for Com­mu­ni­ties and Lo­cal Govern­ment and MPs to raise con­cerns was re­ferred to Cab­i­net for dis­cus­sion.

●● Mem­bers from Global Jus­tice Mac­cles­field demon­strate against TTIP

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