The SNP does not oppose trade agreements on principle, as they can be good for our economy. However we strongly oppose the inclusion of public services and have serious concerns about giving corporations the right to sue governments through the investor-state dispute settlement mechanisms (ISDS), and we will oppose any agreement that has these terms included in it.
Nicola Sturgeon has stated that the SNP will fight tooth and nail against any moves to privatise the NHS in Scotland by the back door. It remains our view that the most effective way to put the issue beyond doubt and to provide the concrete assurance that we and the public require is to provide an explicit legal exemption for the NHS on the face of the agreement. We have urged the UK Government to ensure that the NHS is fully and explicitly exempt from TTIP and, if that is not the case, to use its veto at the European Council to prevent TTIP progressing.
The SNP also fully oppose the ISDS and the regulatory cooperation framework currently being proposed by the EU Commission. This would give foreign corporations legal power to sue governments over new laws being proposed by governments that they could argue would damage profits, as well as measures that could undermine a government’s ability to legislate on food safety regulations, environmental standards, public services contracts and workers’ rights. Alex Salmond has written to David Cameron to make him aware of our serious concern.