Public support for TTIP has plummeted in Germany and the US to 17% and 15% respectively

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Posted Apr 22 2016 by Dave Darby of Lowimpact.org
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A report for the Bertelsmann Foundation has shown plummeting support for TTIP in Germany and in the US – down to 17% in Germany and 15% in the US, with 18% of Americans and a full third of Germans saying that it is ‘a bad thing’. The striking thing however, is the number of people saying that they haven’t heard enough about it – 30% of Germans and 46% of Americans. That’s the way the corporate sector want it of course – the more people know about TTIP, the less they like it, which is why it’s down to people like us to spread the word about this corporate power grab.

But we must be doing something right because just two years ago, 55% of Germans and 53% of Americans supported TTIP, probably due to corporate propaganda on just how much better everyone’s life was going to be when corporations could sue elected governments if they introduce any legislation at all (including environmental protection, food safety, minimum wage or protecting the NHS) that negatively affects their ability to make profit.

See here for more articles on TTIP.

Germans are more against TTIP than other European countries, but the trend across Europe is against TTIP.

A word about ‘trade’, which is mentioned in the first paragraph of the report. Personally, I don’t have a problem with trade. It means that you don’t have to be self-sufficient – you can specialise in what you’re good at and what you like; and monetary trade means that you don’t have to find partners to barter with.

However, the kind of trade that TTIP promotes:

  1. is based on ever-increasing profits, which means perpetual economic growth.
  2. hands more wealth and power to the corporate sector.
  3. orients economies towards exports.

From a low-impact perspective, surely we should be aiming for the exact opposite, i.e.:

  1. stabilising the economy, to bring it within natural limits, so that we can stop damaging the global ecosystem, which we need to survive.
  2. distributing wealth and power more evenly amongst small, local business (including co-ops) and the self-employed.
  3. orienting economies towards production for (ideally) local, or at least national markets rather than having to transport goods around the world. There’s not much we can’t produce in the UK (bananas, coffee etc.).

Read the full report here.

Below is the executive summary.

Generally positive opinion of trade sharply decreasing. Approval of increased trade is decreasing sharply in Germany. In the United States, by contrast, it has increased slightly. This means that at present in Germany only 56 % consider trade with other countries to be a good thing, while 27 % have a negative opinion. Two years ago, 88% had a positive opinion and only 9 % were against increased trade. In the United States, approval increased slightly from 71 % to 82 %, while rejection fell from 23 % to 13 %. In Germany, even in the business-friendly parties, there are significant minorities who are critical of trade. In general, there is stronger approval of trade with industrialized countries than trade with emerging economies, which applies to both, Germany and the United States.

General rejection of TTIP – strong interest in the issue. A majority in Germany disapproves of the planned TTIP agreement. 33 % have a negative opinion of TTIP, with only 17 % considering it a good thing. In the United States, opinion is split, with 15 % in favor and 18% against. In both countries, however, a high proportion of the survey participants did not feel that they were sufficiently well-informed, the percentages being 46% in the United States and 30 % in Germany. In this respect, opinions have become considerably more negative. Two years ago, 55 % of Germans and 53 % of Americans were in favor of TTIP, with disapproval levels being 25 % (Germany) and 20 % (United States) respectively. Furthermore, at that time respondents did not feel as uncertain, with only 8 % of Germans and 14 % of Americans considering themselves not sufficiently wellinformed. At the same time, there is great interest in TTIP, both among Germans (52 %) and Americans (44 %).

Germans fear that standards will be watered down. When respondents were asked about the impact of TTIP, in Germany a majority were concerned that standards could be watered down. This applies particularly to consumer protection and environmental, labor and social standards. In terms of impact on the economy (growth, competitiveness and the labor market), there is no clear overall opinion. Generally speaking, this applies to the United States as well, where positive and negative opinions on standards and the economy are roughly equally strong.

Impact of globalization accurately assessed. German respondents evaluated various statements about the impact of globalization on the German economy correctly. They considered Germany to be one of the winners of globalization and also felt that Germany has benefited from the European single market. They understand that German companies generate a large part of their turnover abroad and that many jobs in Germany are dependent on exports. Additionally, they believe that companies that export pay higher wages. In this respect, they are in agreement with studies investigating the impact of globalization.

Disapproval of TTIP outweighs approval in Germany. When comparisons are made between several surveys in Germany on the approval of TTIP, it becomes clear that the disapproval rates of TTIP are now outweighing approval rates. The trend towards disapproval continues and is becoming stronger.

Industry also increasingly skeptical. Surveys among industry associations demonstrate skepticism about TTIP. An exception is a survey among companies active in foreign trade, a majority of which view TTIP positively.

European majority welcomes TTIP, but Germany and Austria particularly skeptical. In a European context, the majority approves of TTIP, with the majority voicing opposition only in Germany, Luxembourg and Austria. However, even here a slightly negative trend can be observed, as approval of TTIP is decreasing.