Many hundreds of constituents have contacted Clare in recent days in response to an important campaign to exempt the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) from any TTIP deal. As a Labour MEP, Clare is fully opposed to ISDS and will vote accordingly on Wednesday, 10 June.
The votes on Wednesday aim at giving a clear view from the European Parliament to EU negotiators on what would or would not be acceptable to MEPs in the final TTIP deal. The vote will be a guide to them as they negotiate TTIP over the coming years.
This is not a vote for or against TTIP itself. Only once the final text is presented to the European Parliament will MEPs have the chance to support or oppose the deal. Until this happens - and it will probably take years before negotiations are concluded - there is no TTIP to vote for or against. MEPs have no formal powers while trade negotiations are ongoing: they can only vote yes or no to the entire deal once negotiations are concluded. Crucially, MEPs cannot stop negotiations either. So members will judge the TTIP by its merits, and in the meantime try to influence the negotiations so that all concerns are properly addressed.
Last week Labour MEPs supported a report by the trade committee, which is the text that will be put to vote in the European Parliament on 10 June. The text includes key protections for the NHS and public services and binding labour and environmental safeguards. It also clearly states that MEPs will not accept any lowering of our food standards.
Importantly, it states that MEPs trust national courts in the case of investor protection disputes, as opposed to special ISDS tribunals. Labour believes the report doesn't go far enough on ISDS, but it is an important step in the right direction. Labour MEPs will now try to strengthen the reports’ provisions against ISDS, to make it absolutely clear that the European Parliament refuses to have it in TTIP.
Labour MEPs have therefore tabled amendments that explicitly rule out ISDS from any trade deal with the US. The amendments read as follows (in italics):
"...to ensure that foreign investors are treated in a non-discriminatory fashion and have a fair opportunity to seek and achieve redress of grievances, while benefiting from no greater rights than domestic investors; to oppose the inclusion of investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) in TTIP, as other options to enforce investment protection are available, such as domestic remedies..."
"... to propose a permanent solution for resolving disputes between investors and states – without the use of investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) private arbitration – which is subject to democratic principles and scrutiny..."
For more information on TTIP, ISDS and what Labour MEPs are trying to achieve, see:
Trade is neither bad nor good, but there is good trade and bad trade. Labour is firmly committed to changing the rules of global trade, for the benefit of the people and the planet. We stand for fair trade rather than free trade. Labour wants an end to social dumping, protect jobs and wages at home while promoting human rights abroad and rebalance north-south relations. To do that, Labour MEPs must seize every opportunity they have to set a new agenda. TTIP represents such an opportunity, and that’s why Labour is not ruling it out at this stage. If Labour MEPs fail to get the agreement they want, they can always veto the deal in the end. But there would be no excuse for not trying. On Wednesday, together with her Labour colleagues, Clare will vote to try to reset the TTIP agenda.