WIDE+ members have been monitoring the TTIP negotiations, the trade liberalization negotiations between the EU and the US. WIDE Austria published recently a position paper on TTIP and the possible effects on women and men’s human rights. They conclude:
“From our point of view, the TTIP is a large-scale redistribution project that will make the wealthy even wealthier. This is done through the expropriation of public goods through privatisations and the use of the public budget for, to name but one example, compensation payments states have to make
following a court conviction….Also, The anti-union policies of US corporations and the wish for transatlantic harmonisation could push forward the already existing tendency to weaken the unions in Europe as well. This gives rise to the fear that, once again, women will be forced into low-wage jobs and precarious, atypical labour contracts that resemble exploitation…
Measured against all value added and the number of employees, the entire EU consists of service
economies. In Austria, approximately 83% of employed women work in service jobs. One of these
areas is care. The TTIP could open the market even further for profit-oriented care-facility operators.
As women grow older than men and therefore require more care services, and as the majority of
paid care workers are also women, it is essential in terms of welfare effects what care and work look
like in these facilities, which standards of care apply and whether they are affected by downward
harmonisation. This will also be a crucial factor in deciding how much unpaid care work women have
What is the TTIP?
The TTIP – Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement aims at further opening the markets of the US and the EU member states for product imports, services and investments. The
goal is to maximise liberalisation, guaranteeing the highest standards of protection of the investments of European and US groups and investors. As there has been an increase in similar
bilateral agreements from 500 to approx. 3,000 since the 1990s, the TTIP should be discussed in a
wider context. The agreements are to be safeguarded through the Investor to State Dispute
Settlement mechanism, which gives corporations the power to bring a claim for compensation
against a state.
This trade partnership aims at
1) further reducing tariffs that have already been reduced to a minimum;
2) reducing non-tariff barriers, which will be a main area of change;
3) creating optimum conditions for investors.
To read the WIDE Austria position paper: