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14th February 2015

University hosts TTIP discussion

Earth Week event follows up a trip by University of Manchester students to Brussels to protest the proposal

On Tuesday the 10th of February, University Place hosted a talk on the controversial proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The talk was the main event of Global Inequalities Day, an initiative within the University’s Earth Week.

This occasion follows up a trip by University of Manchester students and Young Green members Hannah McCarthy, Khinezar Tint and Natasha Brooks to Brussels on the 3rd February to demonstrate against the future deal.

The TTIP is one of the European Commission’s proposed free trade agreements between the European Union and the United States and is designed to result in multilateral economic growth.

According to Global Justice Now, a campaigning organisation, the deal would also engender a more significant role for big business in political affairs. Amongst other outcomes, corporations would be able to sue governments if their laws or policies damaged the company’s future profits through an international arbitration process which overrides states’ domestic judicial systems.

The main speaker at the event, Global Justice Now director Nick Dearden, said: “If completed, this will be the biggest bilateral deal in the world.

“Our own National Health Service, food production standards, banking standards and digital privacy laws will be affected. This is not only a trade agreement. It is a rewriting of the rules of the global economy.”

In a statement for The Mancunion after the event, Manchester student Hannah McCarthy, member of Stop TTIP MCR and Manchester Young Greens, said: “The talk was brilliant in making the effects and impacts of this convoluted, confusing and murky trade deal more accessible for students.

“Few opportunities are provided which shed light on the ins and outs of TTIP, with the UK national media being largely silent on the issue.

“I fully expect the No TTIP movement to grow and grow in the coming months. Students have a key role in generating this change and should be empowered to oppose TTIP and take control over the direction of our future world.”

University of Manchester student Natasha Brooks, member of Stop TTIP MCR and Co-Chair of Manchester Young Greens, who like McCarthy travelled to Brussels to oppose the deal earlier this month, said: “The talk was really informative and the angle Nick took about the Stop TTIP campaign was really encouraging.

“After the No TTIP train to Brussels I am feeling optimistic about the campaign. It was so energising to meet comrades from across the region with such positivity levels.

“It’s important that we collaborate our campaigns and build a strong network, both of student and non-student activists to keep the campaign moving. Stop TTIP MCR is keen to collaborate with other groups in the region so we will be focusing on strengthening those ties in the coming months.”

During the event last Tuesday, those in the audience also voiced their opinion on the proposed deal. One member of the public said: “This is an international agreement that will destroy democracy as we know it.”

While another person noted: “While some excellent arguments have been pointed out, activism against this kind of treaties must be based on facts. I am unsure how much credible investigation there is on this matter.”

The event also featured the presence of Maia Kelly, from Stop TTIP Leeds.

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