Since 2013, the European Union and the United States have been engaged in negotiations over a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, better known as TTIP.
TTIP is the largest bilateral trade agreement ever negotiated by the EU. Together with other NGOs in the Netherlands and Europe, SOMO has been researching the potential impact of TTIP on the Dutch economy, the lack of transparent and democratic negotiations, and the influence of multinationals on the political process.
SOMO has drawn attention to the threat that TTIP poses to democracy and the rule of law. Among the key problems is the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism which enables foreign investors to bring investment claims against states for public interest measures that may affect profits.read more less
Today’s economic system is a system driven by shareholder value and the interests of large corporations: it maximises their profits, often ignoring the social and environmental costs. The current globalised world does not offer a sustainable level playing field, and as a result, corporations are caught in a race to the bottom.
SOMO wants to contribute to a fair economic system, in which corporations and investors contribute to financing public goods and services, and governments and institutions implement adequate checks and balances, serving social and ecological interests.
Private gain, public loss
SOMO’s research reveals how the current economic and financial system perpetuates economic inequality, and how it exacerbates the power imbalance between the private sector and civil society. Through corporate tax avoidance. Through trade and investment agreements that give companies the right to sue governments for enacting sound social policy. Through a volatile financial system that is increasingly disconnected from the real economy. It is a system of private gain and public loss that leaves ordinary people paying the price.
Our focus is on the social and economic impact of tax treaties and regimes, trade and investment mechanisms and agreements, and the practices and lobby of the financial sector. We pay particular attention to the impact of Dutch and EU policies on low-income countries, examining the degree to which they cohere with sustainable development policies and human rights frameworks.
We work with others in the Netherlands, in Europe, and across the globe, to adapt the economic system, so it serves the public interest and facilitates a more equitable distribution of resources. We want people to be able to control their own economic circumstances, through democratic processes with adequate checks and balances.