Minister: Main complaint of TTIP is “dead and buried”

Ploumen and Zeybekci
Dutch Foreign Trade Minister Lilianne Ploumen with Nihat Zeybekci, Turkey's Minister of Economy. Oct. 5, 2015 (photo: Nihat Zeybekci / Twitter). Dutch Foreign Trade Minister Lilianne Ploumen with Nihat Zeybekci, Turkey's Minister of Economy. Oct. 5, 2015 (photo: Nihat Zeybekci / Twitter)

Minister of Foreign Trade Lilianne Ploumen said the controversial arbitration clause of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is already "dead and buried." She made the comment about the Investor State Dispute Settlement after receiving a petition to boycott the TTIP, a far-reaching trade agreement between the United States and Europe, signed by 110 thousand people in the Netherlands.

Across Europe, 3.2 million people are signatories to the petition.

The ISDS would allow a company the opportunity to challenge the laws of any nation included in the agreement in front of an arbiter, if the company thinks new legislation from that government will harm its interests. At parliament, Ploumen spoke of an early July proposal from the European Commission to include an appeals process as an extension of the arbitration clause, with the publicly-heard appeal requiring the appointment of independent judges.

Ploumen, of the left wing PvdA (Labour), was denounced by the right wing coalition partner, VVD. The group called Ploumen's statements, "party politics for the theatre," according to the NRC, which noted that the VVD is trumpeting benefits to free trade while the PvdA and D66 want stricter conditions attached to the deal.

The petition that was initiated by the European Citizens’ Initiative and Stop TTIP CETA, has gained support from Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, FNV union and Food Watch.

There has also been much public debate around the controversial TTIP and its ISDS mechanism with broadcasts on television bringing the issue into light for many citizens in the Netherlands. Television program VPRO Tegenlicht aired a special called “TTIP: Law of the Jungle.” The broadcast, with some English-language interviews, is on Uitzending Gemist.

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