The economic and financial policy spokesperson for the Greens / EFA Group in the European Parliament, Sven Giegold, comments on the political agreement between the EU and Japan on a free trade agreement (JEFTA):
“The agreement presented is only a half-finished house. Controversial building blocks such as investment protection and regulatory cooperation are only negotiated later. The reduction of tariffs and the elimination of market access obstacles are positive achievements of the agreement. Nevertheless JEFTA was concluded so hastily to serve as a welcome gift for Trump in Europe. It is highly problematic that sensitive issues such as investment protection and the access of Japanese stakeholders to European legislation are now decided in intransparent ‘technical negotiations’. The European Parliament has no access to the documents in these technical proceedings. This means that after the exclusion of the general public, now Members of Parliament, too, are being expelled from the negotiations. The rest of the agreement is being negotiated by technocrats in the darkroom. The EU Commission cares about the transparency of the negotiations with Japan even less than during CETA or TTIP talks. The promises of transparency by the EU Commission are a great bluff if main points are dealt with in the backroom.
The agreement is misplaced as a signal against protectionism. On the contrary, the EU-Japan Free Trade Agreement got off as a false start for the G20 summit. The agreement has the same social and environmental flaws as previous free trade agreements. It is not an act of liberation for free trade, but a shot into its own feet. The lack of binding social and ecological rules has just been reiterated which has put free trade as a whole into disrespect. While it is the right response to Trump, when Europe takes the opportunity to redesign global trade policy, the deal with Japan is a missed opportunity. The trade treaty is particularly dangerous for the climate: the agreement with Japan does not correspond to the Paris Climate Agreement, since the new trade relations cause no less but higher CO2 emissions.”
Sven Giegold will speak today during a workshop on global financial capitalism on 6 July at the G20 Summit on Global Solidarity: http://solidarity-summit.org/event/ws-50-finanzmarktkapitalismus-regulieren-oder-ueberwinden/