Deluded Farm Groups Aid Trade Trap

US-EU pact would form largest-ever ‘common market,’ help cancel nationhood


Free trade does not simply include tools, trinkets, appliances with planned obsolescence and other “durable” goods. It also includes food. And the seeds have been planted to lure farmers into the “TTIP trap.”

TTIP is the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership which the US Congress’ Ways and Means Committee most recently discussed Jan. 27. Most Republicans favor a deal they know little about in terms of the big picture; they mainly hear promises of greener pastures of prosperity from the US Trade Representative’s office.

TTIP, if snuck past the populace on both sides of “the pond” and signed into law, would become the first-ever formal trade and investment pact between the US and the 28-nation European Union. The glad-handers at the European Union Delegation to the US have been sweet-talking state governors, academics and members of the US Congress. The Delegation has a Washington office not far from where the European Union’s “tap root” — the European Coal and Steel Community — set up an office way back in the early 1950s. Back then, the ECSC touted the “common market” concept as the intended cornerstone for an eventual EU.

Indeed, the ECSC was formed by elites for the express purpose of morphing it into an economic and political union known for a time as the European Economic Community, and also as the European Community, among other names, before becoming the EU. Britain joined the EU but kept the Pound Sterling and stayed out of the Eurozone.

The EU has become a trap, an unwieldy superstate, as Europeans witness virtually nonstop centralization of banking, regulation and other tyrannical tentacles. If we hear any more talk of a larger “common market,” it should set off warning sirens all over the place. If a continental common market can form something like the EU, imagine what a transatlantic common market could do.

And American farmers and their brethren across the UK and Europe had better pay particularly close attention here.

The American Farm Bureau, a large lobbying outfit with state chapters across the US, has long romanticized about tearing down trade barriers. But perhaps the AFB and its affiliates don’t realize that national autonomy is also seen as a “trade barrier.” Deluded Montana and Wyoming Farm Bureau leaders early last fall took part in a farmer-rancher delegation to Europe to discuss trade. “The American Farm Bureau’s Trade Advisory Committee met with World Trade Organization Director General Roberto Azevedo and with trade ambassadors from Canada, Japan, Brazil, China, India and Australia,” an AFB press release noted.

“The [September] meetings first took place in Geneva, followed by a meeting with the European Union in Brussels,” the AFB also noted, while adding that TTIP, surprise, was a key topic.

Another massive trade scheme, the Trans-Pacific Partnership — a 12-nation behemoth that straddles the Pacific Ocean while TTIP straddles the Atlantic—is waiting in the wings. Generally, the American farm delegation discussed trade policies which “reduce and eliminate government-imposed barriers” to agri-trade, as they put it. Usually such “barriers” consist of import taxes, or tariffs. In this case, “non-tariff barriers” were discussed, which often take the form of “standards” to manage trade. AFB and its fellow travelers believe regulatory barriers are a “significant impediment to growth.” Yet, the dirty little secret is that TTIP is designed to literally merge the regulatory systems of the EU and the US and create a larger “common market,” which strongly suggests that a new Trans-Atlantic Union (TAU) is on track via TTIP.

Last year in Washington, Belgian “Eurocrat” Monique Goyens of the Trans Atlantic Consumer Dialogue spelled it out: “TTIP is much more than a trade agreement. It lays the foundation of a trans-Atlantic common market,” she admitted at a meeting your writer covered. With considerable gravity, she added: “This concept of regulatory cooperation is totally new; it doesn’t exist in any other trade agreements.” She also noted: “We’re laying the foundations for a single market.” Therefore, she said “the regulatory sovereignty” of each nation has to decline.

That means that the EU likely is not the final stage of transformation; rather, it’s just a “weigh station” toward a huge global building block we could call the TAU. Logically, then, the TPP would undergird a massive Pacific Union. Some businesses and firms likely would benefit from removing certain trade barriers. But a TAU would mean even less control over trade laws by national lawmakers in the US and abroad. Everyday people and their representatives would increasingly lose influence over trade policy by the shifting of such policy-making to a global level. Across the UK, Europe, the US, down to South America, and over the Pacific to various nations, the parallel governing structure cemented by free trade agreements is short-circuiting the nation state. So, nationhood, like an appliance, has planned obsolescence—unless we convert our awareness into concerted action to resist and reverse this economic warfare, and expose the dupes who aid it.

Mark Anderson is a veteran journalist who covers the Midwest. Email

From The Progressive Populist, March 1, 2015

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