A recent boost in lobbying for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) has been occurring by both pharmaceutical and finance corporations, further confirming the controversial trade deal amounts to a parting gift from the Obama administration to major U.S. corporations.
SumOfUs and Corporate Europe Observatory, two think tanks that have carefully examined the public parts of the deal, have witnessed a “dramatic corporate bias” in the Commission’s approach on the trade deal with bigger influence versus a dramatic change since 2014 when Cecilia Malmström took the position of EU Trade Commissioner.
Research shows that the Commissioner, as well as her director general of DG Trade and members of her cabinet held 122 closed door meetings wherein TTIP was a topic of discussion.
Research also attempted to determine how TTIP’s “agenda-setting” had been “driven” by U.S. and Western European businesses, while businesses from Portugal, Cyprus, Malta, Greece and Eastern Europe are not lobbying.
Also, of the corporate lobby groups that are meeting with the Commission’s trade department concerning TTIP, one in five are not present from the EU’s Transparency Register. Among those large companies are Levi’s, Aon and Maersk, as well as the Big Pharma Lobby group PhRMA and the world’s biggest biotech lobby group BIO.
Corporate Europe Observatory’s trade campaigner Pia Eberhardt stated, “This data justifies millions of citizens’ concerns about the threats posed by TTIP. While big business lobbyists are kept firmly in the loop and exert a powerful influence over the negotiations, public interest groups are kept at bay.
“The result is an agenda for TTIP that calls into question key standards and rights for citizens and the environment while dramatically expanding business power over politics in both the EU and the US.”
The study alleges that throughout TTIP’s early phases of negotiations, throughout 2012 – 2014, DG Trade conducted 597 closed door meetings to discuss negotiations with lobbyists.
A portion of the 528 meetings (88%) were alleged to be held with business lobbyists with only 53 (9%) being held with public interest groups.
“So, for every meeting with a trade union or consumer group, there were 10 with companies and industry federations,” according to CEO.
It continues on, “This pattern hasn’t changed significantly since the new Commission took office in November 2014. In the first six months of the job, Cecilia Malmström, members of her Cabinet and the director general of DG Trade had 122 one-on-one lobby meetings behind-closed doors in which TTIP was discussed. 100 of these meetings were with business lobbyists – but only 22 with public interest groups.
“So, for every meeting with a trade union or a consumer organization, Malmström and her staff had 5 get-togethers with companies and their lobby groups.”
SumOfUs and CEO also allege that the corporate lobby groups that “lobbied hardest” in the early phases of the negotiation process for TTIP are: the Transatlantic Business Council (which represents over 70 EU and U.S.-based multinationals), the European car lobby ACEA, the chemical lobby CEFIC, the European Services Forum, BusinessEurope, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Digital Europe (with members consisting of all big IT names, such as Apple, Blackberry, IBM, and Microsoft).
They stated: “These business sectors have lobbied most for TTIP in the early phases of the negotiations: agribusiness and food, cross-sectoral lobby groups such as BusinessEurope, telecom & IT, pharmaceuticals, finance, engineering & machinery, automobiles, health technology, chemicals, express & logistics.”
CEO and SumOfUs go on to allege that multiple sectors have “significantly stepped up” their lobbying for TTIP within the pharmaceutical sector by significantly increasing its lobbying for TTIP.
“While only 2.4% of DG Trade’s one-on-one lobby meetings on TTIP were with Big Pharma in the early phases of the negotiations (January 2012 to March 2013), the sector’s share in lobby meetings jumped to 16.5% in the period after (April 2013 to February 2014). The engineering and machinery sector has tripled its TTIP lobbying effort in the same period (from 3.0% to 9.5% of the behind-closed-doors meetings with DG Trade). Financial sector lobbying also doubled (from an 5.1% share in the total amount of corporate lobby meetings on TTIP to 10.8%).”
They allege that, “One in every 5 corporate lobby groups which have lobbied DG Trade on TTIP are not registered in the EU’s Transparency Register, amongst them large companies such as Maersk, AON, and Levi’s.
“Industry associations such as biotechnology lobby BIO, pharmaceutical lobby group PhrMA and the American Chemical Council are also lobbying under the radar. More than one third of all US companies and associations which have lobbied DG Trade on TTIP are not in the EU register.”