Hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets of Brussels, Thursday, to protest against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). TTIP is aimed at creating the largest free trade zone in the world by removing and reducing barriers to trade between the US and the European Union (EU) in a range of areas including banking regulations, food standards and environmental laws. Proponents of the trade agreement argue that TTIP will create millions of jobs in Europe and lower the costs of goods for consumers. Those in favour of TTIP also argue that it will benefit businesses as it would allow them export goods across the Atlantic without as many restrictions. European critics of TTIP argue that that the agreement will lower standards across the EU in a range of areas and will ultimately harm social, consumer and environmental standards. With regards to food standards, the EU has much stricter regulations regarding GM crops than the US and the deal could allow for US companies to bypass these tougher regulations and sell GM products in Europe. Critics also say that the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) procedure built into the deal is a threat to democracy. ISDS would allow companies to sue foreign governments on the grounds of unfair treatment and many anti-TTIP protesters argue that this would undermine a government's ability to protect its citizens against business interests.
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