Greenpeace publishes leaked TTIP documents | News | DW | 02.05.2016
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Greenpeace publishes leaked TTIP documents

The environmental organization has lambasted the agreement for giving "special legal rights" to companies. If approved, the trade deal would cover roughly one-third of global trade.

The Netherlands chapter of environmental organization Greenpeace on Monday released "half of the draft text" of the controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement that has been shrouded in secrecy during the closed-door talks to hammer out terms.

Greenpeace Netherlands said that it "released the documents to facilitate a proper democratic debate" about the texts. "The secrecy surrounding the negotiating process, which started over two-and-a-half years ago, is harmful to the democratic ground principles of both the EU and the US," Greenpeace wrote.

The documents, which total 240 pages of the agreement, show the US vantage point of the negotiations, according to the NGO.

Deutschland PK Greenpeace geheime TTIP Papiere #ttipleaks

Juergen Knirsch, Greenpeace trade expert, holds a document with classified papers from ongoing US-EU trade talks with the 'ttipleaks' hashtag at the re:publica conference on internet and society in Berlin

Greenpeace highlighted a controversial provision in the deal that would allow companies to intervene in decision-making processes, and even sue a country over regulations.

"It is unacceptable to give private companies special legal rights that bypass established court systems and fly in the face of democratic sovereignty. Corporations should be subject to the same rules and courts as citizens and governments," Greenpeace said. "Trade agreement must serve people and the public interest."

From Berlin to London, the trade deal has encountered resistance in the EU, with dozens of demonstrations across the bloc since negotiations were first announced in February 2013.

Critics say TTIP undermines Europe's regulatory standards on environmental protection, agriculture, food safety and workers' rights.

In 2015, whistleblowing organization Wikileaks also offered a 100,000-euro ($115,000) bounty for the confidential text.

Germany has witnessed thousands of protesters demand the end of TTIP negotiations

Germany has witnessed thousands of protesters demand the end of TTIP negotiations

'We can't accept that'

In April, Obama defended the necessity of the trade deal, which would currently cover roughly one-third of global trade, prior to his arrival in Hanover, where demonstrators called for the negotiations to be suspended.

"There's still barriers that exist that prevent businesses and individuals that are providing services to each other to be able to do so seamlessly," Obama told British broadcaster BBC. "The main thing between the United States and Europe is trying to just break down some of the regulatory differences that make it difficult to do business back and forth."

However, German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel, who also serves as deputy chancellor, said the trade deal would "fail" if Washington did not offer concessions.

"The Americans want to hold on to their 'Buy American' idea. We can't accept that. They don't want to open their public tenders to European companies. For me that goes against free trade" Gabriel told German business newspaper "Handelsblatt" recently."If the Americans stick to this position, we don't need the free trade treaty. And TTIP will fail."

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