. We found that very few people knew about the agreement, let alone that it was being decided right now in the EU.

The synopsis of the petition stated: 'We (38Degrees) call on the Institutions of the European Union and its member states to stop the negotiations with the USA on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and not to ratify the Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with Canada.

We want to prevent TTIP and CETA because they include several critical issues such as ISDS and rules on regulatory cooperation that pose a threat to democracy and the rule of law. We want to prevent lowering of standards concerning employment, social, environmental, privacy ad consumers and the deregulation of public services (such as water) and cultural assets from being deregulated in non-transparent negotiations. The European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) supports an alternative trade and investment policy in the EU.’ The focus of the day was to educate people about a trade agreement that is currently being discussed behind closed doors in Brussels and to further encourage them to help halt the agreement by signing a petition. I focused on the problems with existing trade agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which contains similar clauses to TTIP. For example, according to the LA TImes: '...Lone Pine Resources, a Canadian firm, is using the fact that it is incorporated in Delaware to access the dispute clause in the North American Free Trade Agreement. It is seeking $250 million in damages from the Canadian government after the province of Quebec issued a moratorium on the controversial drilling method known as fracking.’ Some governments are reassessing the need for an Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) clause in these trade agreements. For instance, Germany is considering pulling out of its agreement with that Scandinavian countries after they were sued around $6billion by a Swedish utility company for their decision to stop using nuclear power in the wake of Fukishima.

Therefore, contrary to our Government’s and our local MP’s conviction that, 'TTIP offers no threat and that there are more pressing issues surrounding the NHS,’ I would suggest that the veil must be lifted on this agreement sooner rather than later. It would be at the very least short-sighted of us to imagine that we can avoid the pitfalls that other countries have had to face.

Please help by continuing to highlight this issue and to allow the people of Peebles and district to make an informed decision on such a critical issue to their lives.

I am, etc.

Gordon Daly Peebles