At the start of 2012 I began a series of posts about the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement - ACTA. These took the form of updates on how ACTA was developing. I did this because I had a sense of how quickly things were moving, and how complicated the issues were, and I wanted to try to track those as they happened.
To make that easier, Computerworld UK brought those updates together on a single page. It turned out to be an extremely exciting ride as opposition to ACTA grew across Europe, culminating in the rejection by the European Parliament on 4 July last year.
However, one thing we have learned is that those behind unbalanced laws like SOPA and treaties like ACTA, never give up. If they fail with one, they just try again with another. And so it turns out in the wake of ACTA's demise. We are now witnessing exactly the same secretive approach being applied to TTIP - the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – originally known as TAFTA, the Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement.
Although TTIP only began a few months ago, it is becoming increasingly controversial as more people begin to realise what is at stake. As I explain in several updates below, one of the key problems is the presence of “investor-state dispute settlement” - ISDS - which I predict will prove to be the most contentious part of TTIP.
Indeed, I think it is likely that ISDS will generate so much resistance among the European public that ultimately it will be removed from TTIP completely in order to give other parts more chance of being passed by the European Parliament, which must approve the agreement once it has been negotiated. What follows is my attempt to track the twists and turns of the journey to that final, fateful vote.
A review of the few details that emerged from the first round of negotiations, including an attempt by the European Commission to convince us that TAFTA/TTIP is not another ACTA.
An introduction to investor-state dispute resolution (ISDS), and why its presence in TAFTA/TTIP is a grave threat to European sovereignty, open source and the Internet.
A point-by-point rebuttal of a document in which the European Commission tries to prove that the presence of investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) in TTIP is not a problem.
An exploration of how the public is kept in the dark over TAFTA/TTIP, and the dangrous asymmetries it contains.
A discussion of a major Wikileaks document discussing intellectual monopolies in TAFTA/TTIP’s sister agreement, TPP, and what it means for TTIP.
An analysis of a leaked document outlining the European Commission’s communication strategy for TAFTA/TTIP, and a look at how disastrous other trade agreements like NAFTA and KORUS have been.
Yet another, increasingly desperate attempt to justify the unjustifiable inclusion of ISDS in TAFTA/TTIP, and why the arguments simply don’t stand up to scrutiny.
Lifting the lid on how a new transatlantic “TTIP Regulatory Council” would bring in massive deregulation, with a consequent lowering of food, health and environmental standards in Europe.
How an astonishing attack on Corporate Europe Observatory reveals a floundering European Commission increasingly concerned that it is losing control of the TAFTA/TTIP debate.
Another (failed) attack, this time by Karel De Gucht, the EU's trade commissioner, who laughably tries to claim that there is no lack of transparency in the TAFTA negotiations, and that it’s worth accepting the threats posed by ISDS.
So it looks like TAFTA/TTIP is, in fact, ACTA by the backdoor – despite what Mr De Gucht has said...
Why the US Fast Track bill guarantees that TAFTA's ISDS chapter will be one-sided and unfair for EU companies
Big news: EU pulls ISDS to allow unprecedented public consultation; UK report says ISDS in TTIP would bring little or no benefit
What new CETA leaks tell us about EU's plans to re-vamp ISDS - and why they aren’t enough to protect European sovereignty or democracy
There are growing calls to keep data protection out of TAFTA/TTIP – and to reject the agreement if the privacy of European citizens is not adequately protected
More details emerge on ISDS provisions, and a rather ironic call for transparency from the paranoically opaque USTR
Bad news, lots of leaks, plus debunking another misleading European Commission document
New leaks, new Web sites, a hidden threat from the “most-favoured nation” approach, and an astonishing claim that Germany wants ISDS out of TTIP
A newly-discovered CETA bug shows why the European Commission needs transparency; also, why regulatory data must be opendata
All about transparency in TTIP - or, rather, the almost complete lack of it; includes details of three phantom EU consultations I never heard about, and few took part in
Why that best-case “‚¬119 bn” GDP boost to EU economy equates to just an extra cup of coffee every month
ISDS attacks on EU nations have begun – and that’s before TTIP would make it even more likely and costly
Why the European Commission’s consultation on ISDS is a sham, and fails to provide the promised "draft"
Looking at important research that finds even more holes in the European Commission’s TTIP justifications
A report on a desperate high-level attempt by the US and EU to counter German scepticism, plus the video & slides of my re:publica 14 talk about why TTIP's numbers just don’t add up
An action-packed update that includes fracking, water cannons and cosmetics – but still very little transparency
In which the European Commission’s misleading use of figures from its economic study is criticised, as is the study itself
A major leak of EU services offer; an introduction to the top-secret TISA; and how the US it trying to buy love for TAFTA/TTIP
More on the secretive TISA negotiations; insight into the US's anti-transparency plans; and how the public is too stupid to understand TTIP
More on the huge dangers of ISDS - and lots of help for responding to the European Commission’s travesty of a consultation on the same topic
Designed to be the final information on responding to the European Commission’s ISDS consultation, but we now learn the deadline has been extended because of huge numbers replying
A couple of interesting leaks, and a round-up of how TTIP is starting to enter the mainstream
In the wake of the incredible 150,000 responses to the ISDS consultation, the revolt against this idea spreads to the highest reaches of the EU
ISDS drama from Germany again, and how mutual recognition will undermine EU food and animal protection standards
The shape of multi-billion-pound ISDS lawsuits to come; a leak of the complete CETA agreement; and the threats lurking in US "certification"
Lots of news about CETA and ISDS, plus another slap in the face of the EU public
Lots about CETA, and exciting plans for a European Citizens’ Initiative to let people make their views on TTIP known
Slaps in the face of the EU public: a refusal to allow the ECI, and a "celebration" of CETA. Plus bad signs from the grilling of the new EU trade commissioner
Nearly 50% of the claimed trade boost consists of swapping cars across the Atlantic
Rumours swirl that ISDS will come out of TTIP; even if it does, it's still in CETA and the new EU-Singapore free trade agreements