Noam Chomksy: There's nothing free about free trade agreements

"To a larger extent they're not even trade agreements." The famed linguist and philosopher sounds off on the TTIP

By Alexandra Rosenmann

Published June 4, 2016 1:00PM (EDT)

  (AP/Ramon Espinosa)
(AP/Ramon Espinosa)

This article originally appeared on AlterNet.


Two weeks after Greenpeace released 280 pages on the TTIP trade agreement, Noam Chomsky spoke with Channel 4 about why he believes the new agreement has nothing to do with reducing tariffs, calling it "pretty extreme."

According to Greenpeace: "Whether you care about environmental issues, animal welfare, labor rights or internet privacy, you should be concerned about what is in these leaked documents. They underline the strong objections civil society and millions of people around the world have voiced: TTIP is about a huge transfer of power from people to big business."

“From an environmental and consumer protection point of view four aspects are of serious concern,” said Sylvia Borren, Executive Director Greenpeace Netherlands, including the dropping of long-standing environmental protections; increased difficulty in taking climate action; ending of the "precautionary principle" that allows regulators to take preventive measures to safeguard public health; and opening the door for corporate takeover.

Chomsky points out that "the so-called free-trade agreements are not free-trade agreements. To a larger extent they’re not even trade agreements. These are investor rights agreements." He continued:

There’s a reason why they’re kept secret from the public and as soon as you look at them you see why. They’re not secret to the corporate lawyers and lobbyists who are writing the detailed regulation - of course in the interest of their constituents. The investors are given the right to sue governments for their potentially future profits They go to private trade adjudiction groups made of largely corporate representatives. They’re already going on with NAFTA and we can expect more of them. The major trading partners already have agreements that have reduced tariffs substantially with few exceptions—not many.

Chomsky also noted that the phrase "climate change" does not appear once in these 280 pages.


Alexandra Rosenmann

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Alternet Greenpeace Nafta Noam Chomsky Ttip