back to article Will the next US-EU trade pact prevent Brussels acting against US tech giants?

The European Union government in recent years has proven to be perhaps the most willing to take on the world's major tech companies over digital rights and wrongs. But that could come to an end if planned measures allowing companies to sue governments for lost profits are implemented as part of the next EU-US trade agreement. …

  1. Zog_but_not_the_first
    WTF?

    Please tell me I'm wrong...

    ... but doesn't this mean that corporate power trumps democratic government.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Please tell me I'm wrong...

      It always did.

      However, this is the first time ever in human history this to be made official, enshrined in law and given a special instrument (court) to enforce the corporation rights.

      From here on it is only a matter of time until the most horrific corporate rule distopia you can think of will become reality.

      1. Tapeador

        Re: Please tell me I'm wrong...

        I disagree, if you look at the history of the English law of contract, judges have been looking after the little guy on and off since long before the Sale of Goods Act was passed in, wait for it, 1893... now thanks to EU law, companies can't use any terms with consumers, which would be unfair and create imbalances of rights and duties contrary to the requirements of good faith.

        If you're talking about industrial sectors having political influence then that's a different question, of politics not law, and you're free to lobby policymakers too, it just happens that you don't have time and you probably can't claim to be an employer of tens of thousands.

        1. Bronek Kozicki
          Facepalm

          Re: Please tell me I'm wrong...

          Speaking about contract law, you might have spotted phrase similar to the following in contracts "if any clause of this contract is found to contravene local laws or be unenforceable, only such clause will be deemed void, while the remaining clauses of the contract will remain valid and binding", or to such effect. This is to prevent the whole of the contract becoming invalid if any of its clauses is found illegal. How does it happen that some clauses are deemed to contravene local laws? Because laws were made to protect citizens, for example by making it illegal to sell your body parts. Such laws are made by lawmakers, subject to government initiatives.

          Now, if a company was to make a business model as an "agent for direct acquisition from donors and selling of human body parts for transplants", any contracts signed under such business model would be deemed invalid. Now, imagine what happens if companies are given the right to sue lawmakers for a reason that laws are hurting their profits. This means that companies can now shape the laws in their favour in order to maximize the profit, and this also means that they can legally force lawmakers to remove such laws which make the above mentioned business model illegal and invalid!

          Welcome to the world where companies can force governments to remove laws which protect citizens, if such laws happen to hurt profits.

          1. Tapeador

            Re: Please tell me I'm wrong...

            Yes Bronek I think you've basically seen the big picture there, that's very well summed-up.

            That's the strongest argument I can think of why this part of the pact is utterly objectionable.

      2. P. Lee Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: Please tell me I'm wrong...

        It usually does though Europeans do tend to despise large corporates more than Americans. Perhaps because the large corporates tend to be American.

        Anyway, I smell a headline grabber. A stupid overblown clause designed to distract attention away from the rest of the pact and be discarded.

  2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Formerly, your gov. sucked - you moved to the US. Today, there is no recourse.

    companies to sue governments for lost profits

    Small company:

    The government bleeds you to death. Do you want to affront HOLDER [No / Certainly Not]?

    Big crony megacorps:

    "Hey HOLDER, we want to have a BIG payout. Yeah, put this on the "lost profits" line. Thanks."

    "No problem. Do you want to have some free money from the FED, too? We got a new container to push tonight."

    "Nah, we are good. Say, how is that new crisis coming you guys are stirring up... any chance we could get in on the action?".

    I wonder whether the small print says that the EU has to impose sanctions on itself whenever Uncle Sam feels slightly offended.

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Re: Formerly, your gov. sucked - you moved to the US. Today, there is no recourse.

      One simple question remains unanswered: do we actually need those agreements? AFAIK things work just fine, apart from the potentially annoying requirement of multinationals to actually follow the laws as they exist locally.

      Ah, it seems I answered my own question there..

      1. the spectacularly refined chap

        Re: Formerly, your gov. sucked - you moved to the US. Today, there is no recourse.

        AFAIK things work just fine, apart from the potentially annoying requirement of multinationals to actually follow the laws as they exist locally.

        But they don't always. Consider one of the most basic examples - nationalisation of corporate assets without compensation. If you think this can't happen just look as far as Zimbabwe and Venezuela. Tin pot governments to be sure, but is it just that a national government can simply swipe the assets of a foreign investor who has invested in good faith and has developed the economy of that country? Legal safeguards on the powers of governments are nothing new (take the ECHR for example) and provide greater certainty and protections against the whims of a corrupt or overly populist government.

        If you accept that then yes, it becomes an issue of extent. I personally wouldn't trust whatever the US is proposing as far as I could throw it - the political system has been dominated by corporate shills for far too long. The EU does have a better track record of balancing this kind of issues where the interests of governments, corporations and individuals conflict. Personally I'm willing to wait and see what is actually proposed as opposed to a knee jerk "the government can do what it wants, no matter how corrupt or how desperately it is attempting to hold on to power".

        1. Lars Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: Formerly, your gov. sucked - you moved to the US. Today, there is no recourse.

          @ the spectacularly refined chap. That big government thing is, like job creator, popular words in the USA.

          When the Republicans say they are against big government they want people to think that the Democrats are for big governments. Old tactics you can probably find described some thousend years ago. Empty words really. Then again if you are really serious you will have to suggest what you want to get rid of, the Army or Navy or education or healt care and so forth. With a more efficient, more results for the money government, that I would agree with.

          As for nationalisation I think we should remember that we have nationalized the third world for many hundred years and we are still rather good at it. I don't think people in India felt like thiefs when getting their independence. According to Gandhi one of the few good things they got from the Empire was the English language. But what I fail to work out is who the hell was the teacher and I suppose I will have to choose icon accordingly.

        2. Olius

          Re: Formerly, your gov. sucked - you moved to the US. Today, there is no recourse.

          You need to read up on your Venezualan history. America has been destabalising the south American regions for years so they can extract as much money/goods/cheap work from them as possible. The IMF then leant much money to the region's on the proviso they privatise all their natural monopolies, including water and power. The standards of life in those countries then went through the floor, giving even cheaper exports to America, whilst the water, power and mineral companies make a profit from selling the people their own goods. A new govt was keen to stop this tyrany, so by forming alliances, pooled all their money and paid off the IMF. They then renationalised that which was already theirs and is provably dangerous to privatise anyway. Did investors lose out? Yes. But while they could be categorised one way as investors, they can also be categorised another way as parasites. These were not personal investors desperately trying to get a bit ahead of the game with shrewd investments, they were extraordinarily rich and powerful corporations trying to maximise a profit, with the full backing and aid of their home govt.

          1. Lars Silver badge

            Re: Formerly, your gov. sucked - you moved to the US. Today, there is no recourse.

            @ Olius, yes the American involment has always been the same in South America and Central America. First there is some dictator and American business finds the best of friends, and it's fairly hard to be critical as business is business. Then eventually people wake up and get pissesd off. Now as a dictor is (in the very limited political language of the USA) called "right" the opposition is always called left. As an result the Americans have never been able to support even once any opposition against even one dictator because there is this fear of loosing business, the fear of loosing the grip of some dictator, the fear of having to deal with a democratic independent country in the back yeard, the fear of not being able to trade glass pebles for gold. And I can understand it, I have read Uncle Scrooge too. (and I seem to have lost my spell checker), but it is sad too, with the use of more intelligence the USA could be stronger and more successful too in those parts (or any) in the world. This US talk about defending democracy looking at the history is rather tainted. My balls and my vallet are always more important to me than any damned democracy where ever. And that is by no means an American invention I have sometimes tried to look at the world from the other side of the fence. For instance, suppose I was say 18 araund 1960 and Cuban, would I have been a bartender in a US Mafia run brothel in Havanna or would I have joined Casrtro and his terrorists fighting the arsehole society then. Or take Venenezuela, would I have stood up for the US oilcompanies or would I have asked them to fuck off exploiting my country. Finally if you think Shell in Africa has any responsibility for anything but making a profit then you are romantic (this of course regarding the guy with the Venezuela problem telling us about all the wonderfull things the US oilcompanies did in Venezuela).

            1. Olius

              Re: Formerly, your gov. sucked - you moved to the US. Today, there is no recourse.

              Indeed :-) But America does do these things in the name of protecting "democracy" and "freedom", or rather they are protecting their way of life which they often tell themselves is democratic and free. What they are actually protecting themselves from by oppressing others is "the threat of a good example" - if Venezuala and others become model democracies and actually free without being ultra-capitalist and whilest working together, pooling their resources, providing good public services and becoming a lovely place to live (which they did for a short while) that makes other countries' people's question whether they are doing it right. Therefore they must be stopped at any cost.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Big Brother

          Nationalisation of corporate assets.

          @The spectacularly refined chap : "Consider one of the most basic examples - nationalisation of corporate assets without compensation. If you think this can't happen just look as far as Zimbabwe and Venezuela"

          You have got to be kidding, shouldn't that be countries taking back what was once stolen from them.

      2. Luther Blissett

        Re: Formerly, your gov. sucked - you moved to the US. Today, there is no recourse.

        > One simple question remains unanswered: do we actually need those agreements?

        The one simple answer is that if the current Hegemon cannot effect an economic capture of the EU at this time, it is more than likely that European nations will buy into the New Silk Road, running from the Pacific to the Atlantic. It is the Yankee pathetic vision of international affairs (and game theory), that this must inevitably make them an also-ran. So critical is this thing to the Hegemon that drafts of TTIP are not being released to national governments. Indeed, any final agreement cannot be published for 3?/5? years.

        Think Bhopal w/o legal redress. Think Deepwater Horizon without legal redress. Worse: think of the muppets negotiating this agreement

  3. lnLog
    WTF?

    anti-smoking laws?

    So the like of BAT could sue for loss of profits because of changes in laws relating to smoking?

    As per 'Zog_but_not_the_first'; WTF?

    Or have i got the wrong end of the stick?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: anti-smoking laws?

      Or have i got the wrong end of the stick?

      Yeah, you are lighting the filter, instead of the tobacco side.

      A corporation should never be entitled to sue a government for lost profits. This is simply a matter of sovereignity. It is sufficient that we have diluted that idea with the recent Supreme court decision on sovereign debt (in fact the mere decision of the Supreme court to hear the case is an unmitigated disaster for the world order as we know it). Making this madness universal is beyond insane...

    2. Rol Silver badge

      Re: anti-smoking laws?

      A good example.

      Just as well America banned slavery when they did, as the cost to reimburse the industries for lost profits would be prohibitive once this little gem gets imposed.

      If companies wish to trade as super humans, with rights and privileges elevated above humanity, then I should think it only fair they suffer punishments for transgression far and above those experienced now.

      Maybe, when a man in a white lab coat starts to approach Google et al with a syringe loaded with an overdose of Pentobarbital they might consider a deathbed conversion away from the dark side preferable.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: anti-smoking laws?

        If companies wish to trade as super humans, with rights and privileges elevated above humanity, then I should think it only fair they suffer punishments for transgression far and above those experienced now.

        Simple, direct, true. Impossibly idealistic, sure, but fair.

  4. Roo
    Windows

    Class Action...

    Strikes me that this is a class action suite waiting to happen where the little guys take governments to the cleaners as well for giving multinationals an unfair advantage. It appears that Turkeys do indeed vote for Xmas.

  5. Paul Jackson

    New revenue streams?

    I'm pretty much waiting for the government to make some food product illegal because its found to cause injury/death to those eating it, and the megacorp who makes it then sues the government for their lossed profit. - probably easier than dealing with the litigation against it due to the deaths of its product users.

    Make something awful, get a government to make it illegal, sue government, profit?

  6. Cynical Observer
    Flame

    Time to grow a pair

    .... as the time honoured sentiment would put it.

    It's a treaty, a negotiation, a consensus of minds. In what version of insanity to the Brussels Bureaucrats possibly believe that this ability to sue due to adverse regulations is benicicial to the European side of the cause?

    EU: Aircraft manufacturers - we'd rather that you didn't fall out of the sky - so much so that we will put some of the rules into law.

    US Air plane Corp: Mwaaaaaah! Uncle Sam! They being mean to me!

    UK: we really don't think our citizenry should have assault rifles. We have banned them by law.

    US Armaments Corp: Mwaaaaaah! Uncle Sam! They being mean to me!

    Please - tell me there is some sanity left in this poxxed empire called Europe and that someone with the balls to do so with tell them to go take a flying fuck! - Subject to the appropriate health and safety rules of course.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Time to grow a pair

      There is some sanity left in the Poxed empire called Europe. However, there is no sanity left on the other side of the Pond. Not that there was a lot to start with (after all we shipped all the lunatics there for centuries).

  7. kmac499

    Dumb as it gets..

    Dear Govt;

    My profits were down cos

    You wouldn't let me sell to Iran,Korea Cuba

    You made me clean up my toxic waste.

    You insisted I have the same employment laws in Asia as at home

    You won't let me sell controlled substances

    You won't let me sell guns

    You insist my products are safe

    You say my customers can sue me if my poducts harm them..

    etc. etc..

    1. Caesarius
      Holmes

      Re: Dumb as it gets..

      That's an interesting list, and is very clear about things that companies should not be compensated for. Can we find things things that companies should be compensated for? The law (as reported) is absurd, but, just possibly, there is something sane intended.

      Actually, if the proposed law really is that dumb, can we get out of it because it is an unfair contract?!

  8. James 51

    Wouldn't this sort of law meant that slave owners could have sued for lost profits on the end of slavery?

    If it was worded a certain way... imagine putting vat up causes a drop in sales, sueballs. Goverment announces that a certain dye is found to be harmful and is recalled, sueballs. An announcement about an investigation into tax minimisation and potential fraud commited causes a drop in share price...

    1. Phil Lord

      Well, the slave owners were compensated at the end of the slave trade for the loss of their property. Notably, the (former) slaves were not compensated at all.

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        "Notably, the (former) slaves were not compensated at all."

        Apart from being given their freedom. Surely that counts as a win on their part, no?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Big Brother

          Freedom from slavery is compensation enough.

          @DavCrav: "Apart from being given their freedom. Surely that counts as a win on their part, no?"

          Yea, if somebody kidnaps you and takes all your money in return for your freedom, that's compensation enough :)

        2. Hargrove

          "Apart from being given their freedom. Surely that counts as a win on their part, no?"

          No.

          Some comments, with apologies if DavCrav's comment was intended to be ironic, and I missed the Joke.

          The heart of the "social contract" is that freedom was always inalienably theirs by right. It was stolen from them, along with their liberty and the fruits of their labor. Their children were sold for the profit of their owners.

          We find this abhorrent. But for the vast majority of the time humans have lived on the planet, slavery has been accepted, often endorsed as "God's will." The reality is that the truths that many of us hold to be self-evident and cherish are not universally accepted and perilously fragile.

          I can envision only a few conditions under which companies should be allowed to seek compensation for losses resulting from the passage of a national law.

          1. The company can demonstrate conclusively that the sole purpose of the law was to create a barrier or economic disadvantage and that this was the direct and sole t cause of financial loss.

          2. The trial needs to be in an established national court of law. The expectation that an independent tribunal will not become a creature of the multinationals is unrealistic; and

          3. Losing companies should not be penalized for losing; however, if the case is determined to have been frivolous and without merit, the loser should bear the cost of the proceedings.

          Under no circumstances should a company be able to recover losses resulting from legislation that is passed for the common good.

          A purely hypothetical example: If a country were to ban the sale of a product that credible research determined to be a highly addictive carcinogen. But, of course, this is clearly something that no ethical and moral multinational corporation would ever market.

          1. DavCrav Silver badge

            "Some comments, with apologies if DavCrav's comment was intended to be ironic, and I missed the Joke.

            The heart of the "social contract" is that freedom was always inalienably theirs by right. It was stolen from them, along with their liberty and the fruits of their labor. Their children were sold for the profit of their owners.

            We find this abhorrent. But for the vast majority of the time humans have lived on the planet, slavery has been accepted, often endorsed as "God's will." The reality is that the truths that many of us hold to be self-evident and cherish are not universally accepted and perilously fragile."

            I cannot think of a time in history where a gruop of people are given a new right, and then compensated for not having that right in the past. When homosexuality was legalized, gays were not given compensation, nor when gay marriage was brought in. When the disenfranchisement of women was ended they were not compensated for being excluded from democracy.

            Whether slavery is good or bad (hint: bad) it's entirely standard for no compensation to be given for things that were legal. Anyone talking about slavery reparations should also be talking about reparations to women and homosexuals, to name but a few groups.

            Whether we like it or not (hint: we don't) slavery was a standard part of life for most of human history. At the time, freeing the slaves was a momentous decision, and I bet that every freed slave was ecstatic, and the first thing on their mind was not clamouring for compensation, but living their lives.

        3. 's water music
          Facepalm

          it's all relative

          >> "Notably, the (former) slaves were not compensated at all."

          > Apart from being given their freedom. Surely that counts as a win on their part, no?

          Hey smaller kids! We have a special off on not giving you a wedgie! You too can not have a wedgie for the bargain price of one day's dinner money, reduced from the usual two day's dinner money for today only!

          So no, not really.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Big Brother

        Will the next US-EU trade pact prevent Brussels acting against US tech giants?

        @Phil Lord: "Well, the slave owners were compensated at the end of the slave trade for the loss of their property. Notably, the (former) slaves were not compensated at all."

        To whoever downvoted this one, please enlighten us as to your reasons for doing so.

  9. Cynical Observer
    Trollface

    At least the banks can make a case for their money back

    Every bank that has every been fined for facilitating bank trades on behalf of citizens of Iran or Syria or Cuba or Libya or <insert country that the USA [did, does, will go on to] not like> can not argue that those silly banking rules constitute a hindrance to their profits.

    So they can go and sue the US Government. :-)

    Money Laundering - yeah! that hits profits if you stop that so can HSBC have their Mexican money back please.

    etc.....

    Or does this rule only works in one direction?

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Re: At least the banks can make a case for their money back

      Or does this rule only works in one direction?

      When has it not? Just curious..

  10. tfewster Silver badge

    No, no, no - the EU didn't "force" MS to provide browser choice, They gave them options - do it, or be hit with fines for abuse of a monopoly position under the existing laws.

    On the other hand, tax reform to make companies pay local taxes on local profits* - Ain't gonna happen under this new trade pact

    *Yes, the real profit, not the one they report after "transfer pricing"

    1. Lars Silver badge

      "the EU didn't "force" MS to provide browser choice". True, but that solution was MS own suggestion and then accepted by the EU and then MS forgot about it for some time.

  11. Lars Silver badge
    Flame

    Please EU

    Please do not accept all that shit.

  12. Tom 35

    Drug companies?

    All that testing is cutting into profits. Sure our new super addictive happy pill has killed a few people but our profits are up 47%.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have to admit to being in two minds on this.

    On the one hand, I like to think that the arbitrary power of governments should be limited somewhat where law breaking is not actually involved. That governments can act for some indirectly related purpose, which negatively affects businesses lawfully carrying out their business is something that I would rather not see. If law breaking is being done, then all bets off, for example, the abuse of a monopoly position. However, also for example, if trade barriers are put up for entirely political reasons, that detrimentally affect importers, then they should have some recourse.

    On the other hand, we have many legitimate reasons why governments have to act, such as times of war, or in "tragedy of the commons" type situations where the greater good is being served.

    Add into that mix the various times we have uproar over increased bureaucratic meddling in the economic affairs of nation states by the EU, and the situation is far from clear cut.

    Personally, I don't see what the size of the offended party has to do with it. All businesses big and small can be impacted by the whims of government to meddle in our affairs. It makes a great headline to whip up hatred of large muilti-nationals and I can certainly see these entities being in the best enomomic position to make use of these new clauses, but perhaps there should be some legal recourse (within a reasonable framework) for decmocratic governments to be held accountable for the aftermath of their failed or ill-conceived policies.

    1. Tom 35

      I don't see what the size of the offended party has to do with it.

      Because large corporations wrote this thing. It's going to be setup to work for large corporations with teams of lawyers on staff. In the same way a corner shop can't assign their trademarks to a postbox in a tax haven the way Starbucks can.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I don't see what the size of the offended party has to do with it.

        > Because large corporations wrote this thing. It's going to be setup to work for large corporations with teams of lawyers on staff. In the same way a corner shop can't assign their trademarks to a postbox in a tax haven the way Starbucks can.

        I fear that you may well be right. I was speaking of the principle rather than the practice.

        As a general rule though, I prefer small government over large where possible. That's because as a Brit, we've been f*cked over so may times by our lords and masters, that we instinctively suspect any restriction of our liberties. (It's also one of the reasons why I think in the US, they are less guarded about the abuses perpetrated against them and others by their own governments: they have less first-hand experience of it). Trouble is, more and more multi-national companies are running things through their proxies, the government, which is one of the reasons why we have such big government these days.

    2. 's water music
      Joke

      accountability

      perhaps there should be some legal recourse (within a reasonable framework) for democratic governments to be held accountable for the aftermath of their failed or ill-conceived policies.

      How in the hell are you ever going to hold a democratic government to account?

  14. Old Handle
    Trollface

    Okay, for the most part this is a terrible idea, but does this mean cloud services and such will be able to sue the NSA for lost business?

  15. john devoy

    If it's like any other agreement it will only go one way, to the USAs benefit.

  16. JohnMurray

    It will be us that pays, not the gov. Since our "lords and masters" (or toads and arseholes) have LONG ago been captured by Big-Biz, and well rewarded for so being, it will be a case of using lawsuits to increase profits and not because any great harm is being done.

    I guess the 0.1% don't quite have enough of the 99.9%'s money yet.

    Or maybe they just want cheap arse lickers?

    Anyway, what's on the box tonight.....

  17. Keven E.

    Nice grouping

    "...if trade barriers are put up for entirely political reasons, that detrimentally affect importers, then they should have some recourse."

    Not to hinder the definition of "political" too much (lol)... it's the only reason(s) to put up trade barriers.

    It sounds like the EU is blindly following the bs of their litigist, capitalist overlords here in the US. Don't you guys value any "sovereignty"?

    It's a sad day for individual rights in general. No, corporations aren't people because 5 out of 9 appointees think that has "justice" written all over it. More tax money going to corporations.

    I can see this... not so far in the future... creating more monopolies and undetectable insider trading gone rampant.

    ************

    How about... along with that law... the capital gains tax should (increase to) be the inverse of the national growth rate. How else are *governments gonna pay out the flood of new national debt?

  18. RobHib
    Unhappy

    A real worry.

    Just about every past free trade deal with the US has gone the US's way. Australia found this out with its free trade deal with the US. The US creamed the Oz negotiators over IP, pharmaceuticals etc. and the Australian public has been worse off.

    Much experience has shown that it's not possible to negotiate on a level playing field with this bully.

    This story is very disconcerting.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A real worry.

      As far as I can tell from history, "negotiating" with the US is more a matter of deciding to what degree you let yourself be blackmailed - they don't really know what negotiating or diplomacy means if it doesn't involve threats. Their only problem now is that thanks to Snowden, the EU has at least *some* leverage when it comes to privacy and prevention of illegal data grabbing, but as a confirmed cynic I fully expect that to be squandered.

  19. TheColinous

    Aw, poor Anglosphere.

    Its inability to study other foreign languages like German or French or Italian makes it so dependent on an English-speaking press run by people who are unable to study other foreign languages like German or French or Italian.

    So, you'll have a situation where a newspaper like The Guardin or The Telegraph will quote the New York Times about information about sentiments within the EU, which Britain is a member or, instead of Der Spiegel or Handelsblatt or Le Figaro or La Stampa.

    IF the anglospher weren't so incapable of learning foreign languages, it would have noticed that the political situation that stopped things like ACTA and which brought rulings like the one against Google have grown stronger, not weaker after Snowden.

    So, when Angela Merkel or Francois Holland or Renzi comes with the TAFTA treaty to their parliaments, it's not going to pass. And while Guardian and Telegraph will cover Nigel Farage's involuntary flatulence in great detail to find out how Things Are Done in Europe, they'll miss that the EP is likely to vote against this.

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      "Aw, poor Anglosphere.

      Its inability to study other foreign languages like German or French or Italian makes it so dependent on an English-speaking press run by people who are unable to study other foreign languages like German or French or Italian.

      So, you'll have a situation where a newspaper like The Guardin or The Telegraph will quote the New York Times about information about sentiments within the EU, which Britain is a member or, instead of Der Spiegel or Handelsblatt or Le Figaro or La Stampa.

      IF the anglospher weren't so incapable of learning foreign languages, it would have noticed that the political situation that stopped things like ACTA and which brought rulings like the one against Google have grown stronger, not weaker after Snowden.

      So, when Angela Merkel or Francois Holland or Renzi comes with the TAFTA treaty to their parliaments, it's not going to pass. And while Guardian and Telegraph will cover Nigel Farage's involuntary flatulence in great detail to find out how Things Are Done in Europe, they'll miss that the EP is likely to vote against this."

      I've rarely read a comment on this website made up of so much bollocks as this. How many German people speak French, do you think? 15% according to the WIkipedia entry "Languages of Germany". And how many in the UK? 23% according to the Wikipedia entry "Languages of the UK". How does it feel to have a central plank of your pathetic argument pulled out as you were walking along it?

      What you fail to notice is that it's only English that other large EU countries speak; they tend not to speak each others' languages. Also, we have enough people in the UK who can speak foreign languages to do the translation for us, thanks.

      Also, racist much? English people are unable to learn foreign languages? About the same as if I said that the French were unable to drive properly or Germans had no sense of humour. Stereotypes and fluff.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. DocJames
        Stop

        It is rare that anyone in Britain speaks a foreign language well enough to read a newspaper in that language, and even rarer that someone who can do this will do so. In Europe, this is common.

        And I'd suggest your comparison might be better made comparing British people who speak French with French people who speak English.

  20. Rol Silver badge

    I'm gonna start a new business, anyone care to join?

    The business is drilling for oil as close to American shores as possible.

    Obviously I will use the most incompetent and corrupt local company to dump whatever they tell me is cement sludge on my well head and...well...wait for the disaster.

    After the company has been dragged to hell and back through the courts I can then sue the American government for having the audacity to pass a law that makes it illegal to fuck up their coastline, their livelihood and the waterline of million pound yachts.

    It's only fair, as most American globals are fucking up society better than a politician on PCP.

    1. Richard Jones 1

      Re: I'm gonna start a new business, anyone care to join?

      While I like your style are you really being rude about USA Zero(worth) Halliburton and USA Transocean.

      Watch out for black Hellicopters soon.

      The lesson appears to be DO NOT TRADE with the blood in their own hands Yanks.

      1. Rol Silver badge

        Re: I'm gonna start a new business, anyone care to join?

        Err, I have my litigants guide to America and it suggest the term "allegedly" be scattered liberally through any statement I make regarding the performance of a named company. Also by talking in a rounded way they cannot squarely corner me.

        As the alleged terms corrupt and incompetent are not allegedly the sole preserve of the companies you mention, the only other identifying features, that of, filling well heads with the left over goo from a nearby motorway construction, is also a practice of a community of travelling salesmen with a sideline in lucky heather.

        Might I suggest, in the future, when your contract states you must use a preferred political donor to fill your well head, it would be most advisable to pay them off in stuffed brown envelopes and then get a bunch of gypsies in to do it. It will be months, rather than days before the weeds start poking through and the whole thing starts to crumble away.

        Allegedly.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I'm gonna start a new business, anyone care to join?

        Watch out for black Hellicopters soon.

        Given current USA behaviour, that is actually a typo that makes sense..

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    suspicion

    Get ready EU to plant lots of GMO, try all our largely untested pharma (FDA fast track), embrace fracking (you know it's good for you), get rid of all those silly banker taxes and regulations, and lastly you lot, take note you Europeans had better start respecting US copyright. Lots of love and kisses XX The man

  22. Hoe

    Drug Dealers...

    Drug Dealers will be delighted at this, just think Prison = Lost Profits!

    This world has gone way, way past insane now & doesn't look like it will stop!

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google and Apple have been pretty happy with how paying no taxes has been going, but then they thought,

    "Hey wouldn't it be nice if we could get the government to pay us - just like it pays orphans and widows and cripples and BAE"

  24. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Time to ban French

    It's expensive and inconvenient to translate our product.

    Any government that doesn't speak English is reducing our profits

  25. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Madness

    However, whatever you do, don't say it can't get any worse.

  26. JaitcH
    Stop

    ISDS: A favourite claose of the US Government. It screwed Canada.

    There was a fuel additive manufacturer in the US whose product was later deemed injurious to human health.

    The US banned it.

    Then Canada followed suit ... and got sued by the company. And collected it millions from Canada.

    So this is one US clause to avoid.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    On the plus side, does this mean if the EU/UK introduced software patents, that would qualify as grounds to sue?

    "A controversial chapter of the agreement currently being negotiated would give multinationals the right to sue the government concerned if new laws lead to lower profits."

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      But, companies with software patents would have the right to sue if Europe didn't enforce them.

      And companies that have most software patents also have most lawyers.

  28. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    So does this mean ...

    ... that my EU bank can sue the US government for imposing FATCA compliance costs on them? I don't see where this agreement only works in one direction, in the favor of US companies due to the effect of foreign regulations?

  29. Rottenham

    Get a Grip

    Man, you guys are nuts if you go along with this. Fire whoever supports it, or you'll end up as just another star on the US flag.

  30. veti Silver badge
    Pint

    The irony of it all

    When Britain abolished slavery in the colonies (which happened in waves, but the biggest came in 1833), the government actually paid compensation to former slave owners.

    When the US finally abolished slavery in 1865, there was no such compensation.

    Now it's the US that wants governments to pay compensation for businesses that lose out when the law changes.

    I guess the moral is that when people buy a government, they buy the most powerful one around.

    Pint, because it's bloody depressing.

  31. earl grey
    Unhappy

    Slavery is not gone

    it's rampant in Africa, Arabian peninsula, and much of SE Asia. Most of the slave trade in the former colonies was "fed" by one tribe selling off another in Africa. pretty much how they still do it.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021