back to article Son of ACTA pours fuel on IP trade fire

Activists are mobilising against another international trade treaty, with the TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) negotiations between America and the EU starting to cause angst. Negotiating texts of the treaty began leaking earlier this year, and that has given policy analysts time to look under the skin of …


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  1. Chris G


    Putting such a thing together takes time and it is interesting to note that one of the first consequences of the "Ukraine Crisis" was that due the sanctions Obama immediately offered Europe supplies of American gas.

    A cynical person might think the Ukraine is a financed consequence of TTIP plans, even more so when you watch the Ex Assistant Treasurer of the States and former editor of the WSJ Paul Craig Roberts; in his interview on US Watchdog

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Interesting!

      A really cynical person will probably expand that cynicism to the whole of Arab spring as well. The more unstable supply of oil from elsewhere, the more profit frakkers make at home.

    2. Chad H.

      Re: Interesting!

      Given that the US's offer to supply gas was pretty hollow as there arent enough facilities to replace the gas that transists ukraine... I think it was just token support, not evidence of a conspiracy.

  2. Suricou Raven

    Of course it's dodgy.

    If it wasn't full of objectionable things, it wouldn't be negotiated in secrecy. If it is being hidden, then there must be something to hide.

  3. Message From A Self-Destructing Turnip

    Have you seen the bigger piggies

    "Have you seen the bigger piggies

    In their starched white shirts

    You will find the bigger piggies

    Stirring up the dirt

    Always have clean shirts to play around in.

    In their sties with all their backing

    They don't care what goes on around

    In their eyes there's something lacking

    What they need's a damn good whacking."

  4. Geoff Campbell

    Ah, interesting indeed.

    Phase two of the resource wars appears to be getting under way. Keep your heads down, people, this one is going to get nasty.


  5. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    I guess the UK would have to have a law prohibiting fracked gas from export to get low prices

    Or can I expect all UK fracked gas to be sold on the open market?

    1. Chris Miller

      Re: I guess the UK would have to have a law prohibiting fracked gas from export to get low prices

      Unlike the US, the UK is already connected to the European (and beyond) gas network. So the price of UK gas (including any locally fracked component) is set by the international market.

      1. Fading

        Re: I guess the UK would have to have a law prohibiting fracked gas from export to get low prices

        Strange view of markets you have there. The price is not "set" but is a consequence of supply and demand. If the supply is reduced the price goes up - the more players in the market the less likely any single supplier can control the price (without collusion that is - e.g. OPEC).

        If a price for one resource rises it can make certain extraction techniques financially viable (e.g. fracking) - if it drops then these methods are no-longer viable. Given the length of time and money it can take to get particular method of energy supply off the ground governments sometimes provide financial guarantees in a we'll buy at x price (above market rates) for the next y number of years (wind/solar/nuclear all have such guarantees in the UK).

        So no the price is not "set" by the "international market".

        1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

          Re: I guess the UK would have to have a law prohibiting fracked gas from export to get low prices

          The UK has a well-developed and liquid wholesale nat gas market (with futures traded on ICE and physical delivery through the NBP mechanism), which actually acts as one of the international benchmarks. The Interconnector pipeline provides the connection with the continental markets and ensures the price link through arbitrage in the event there are local distortions on either side.

  6. heyrick Silver badge

    "“natural gas exports from the U.S. to the EU would be automatically deemed in the public interest and export licenses automatically granted”"

    So... You are striving to negotiate untenable "deals" in private and talking in them about what is "in the public interest"?

    There's the door. Don't slam it on your way out.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      DO slam the door - on their damned necks.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It will be heavily watered down

    Treaties like this are usually made behind closed doors, and the people being fucked over don't realise they're being fucked over until its all done and dusted. This treaty, on the other hand, is being leaked to a slow death by activists. No wonder the Westminster regime has been so desperate to clip the wings of organisations like 38 Degrees?

    1. Rich 11

      Re: It will be heavily watered down

      It *needs* to be heavily watered down. If not scrapped outright.

  8. nematoad Silver badge


    "On investor-state dispute provisions, it states that countries can still pass their own legislation: “at most, it can lead to compensation being paid”"

    Looks to me like this might be the chance the multinationals have been after. A looters charter. The right to get their way no matter what the people want. Why the hell should we have to pay these organisations for the right to decide what we want in our own countries? Is this why it's all kept so secret?

    This only gives a hostage to people who don't give a damn and are only interested in lining their own pockets. They have no national interest just self-interest.

    The real mystery is why our representatives are so keen on all this. Do they honestly believe that it is in the interest of the people? Or are they really only interested in what they, personally, can get out if such a treaty. Either one is deeply worrying, on one hand naivety, on the other greed and cynicism.

    A bad idea and one we should oppose with everything we have.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No!

      100% with you on the question why this has to be secret. Either this happens in the open where voters can have a say, or we should simply stop the pretense that we are in a democracy.

    2. arrbee

      Re: No!

      "our representatives" will be the same civil servants that do such a sterling job negotiating & managing PPI contracts etc. A combination of being out of their depth and concentrating on personal development.

      At the end the politicians will be presented with volumes of dense text with nicely coloured graphs showing what wonderful things will happen while they're still in power (that last bit is important). The media will just regurgitate the PR releases.

    3. Graham Cobb Silver badge

      Policy laundering

      "On investor-state dispute provisions, it states that countries can still pass their own legislation: “at most, it can lead to compensation being paid”"

      No, at worst it can lead to policy laundering and disenfanchisement. Policy laundering (of policies the government want to enact but which will be unpopular) used to be done through the EU ("Oh look: the EU have required that we make interfering with DRM illegal. What a shame. Oh well, I suppose we had better get on with it"). But nowadays, blaming the EU is off the table: it creates votes for UKIP. So, having an "important trade treaty" that means that some wet-dream policy has to be implemented "because otherwise we can be sued by major multinationals" is ideal.

      Unfortunately, every government (of every country, and of every political persuasion) benefits from having someone else to be able to blame for unpopular policies so that is how these things get agreed.

  9. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Yo EU!

    You ain't gonna be dependent on big bad Putin for your gas supply no more! You're gonna be dependent on good ole Uncle Sam! He'll be nice, though, he'll give you gas - if you do as he says, of course...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yo EU!

      This is the biggest argument for fracking and research into Thorium reactor technology. When you rely on someone else for your energy, you eventually end up being someone's bitch.

      1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

        Re: Yo EU!

        Yes. And neither the US, nor Russia, nor China are usually in the mood for compromises when they feel you're in a weak position...

  10. Lapun Mankimasta

    However, the European Commission has said that it intends there to be no harmonisation between US and EU intellectual property laws. On investor-state dispute provisions, it states that countries can still pass their own legislation: “at most, it can lead to compensation being paid"

    Intellectual Property, parsed:

    I P

    U P

    He Ps

    She Ps

    It Ps

    We P

    U P

    They P

    (on us, natch, and they call it "rain"!)

  11. Christoph

    If this goes the same as last time, they'll sort the treaty out in secret and then hand the completed thing to the European Parliament and say "Here, sign this!".

    The European Parliament MUST refuse. If it does not it is abdicating the political power of the elected parliament to the secret cabal that drew up the treaty - in effect abolishing itself as a meaningful entity.

    It must do so regardless of the actual content of the treaty. Any treaty negotiated in secret must be rejected simply on that fact alone. If they want a treaty they must negotiate it openly where the people who will be bound by it can see what is happening and raise objections.

  12. itzman

    Big OIl loves the EU...

    You only have to buy off 100 commissioners instead of 27 different nations.

  13. grammarpolice
    Big Brother

    "The public interest"

    "Peaceful demonstrations are not in the public interest"

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fracking is really BIG Business in the USofA

    Just take a drive through Wyoming, Montana, Utah and parts of Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico.

    I'm in the town of Vernal, UT. Five years ago it was dying on its feet. Now it is boom time. You can buy a 4-bed three bath detached house for approx $210,00 or 130Grand UK approx.Last year the price of the same house was 100grand. 30% inflation

    Thankfully large tracts of land around here are National Park or National Forrest so no fracking is allowed but outside that... pretty well anything goes.

    Gas/Petrol is $3.59 per US Gallon. only $0.61 goes in TAX (state + Federal)

    Therefore almost everyone drives around in 5.6ltr + Pickups or similar and to hell with the gas mileage.

    If any environmentalists show their head, they are shot down (not actually) right away. No one here cares.

    The US has a surplus of Oil and Gas that is predicted to last 30-40 years. Naturally they would like to export it to Europe. Still they have the nerve to ban cheeses and meat from the EU where most of the local stuff is shot full of hormones to make it grow quicker.

    Can't wait to come home.

  15. P. Lee

    Remind me again...

    Why do you need a treaty or any other legislation, to say that US exports "are in the national interest"?

    Just say "No."

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