$5.3 TRILLION DAILY
TTIP: The world argues about free trade agreements but the real problem is speculation with currencies. Why is this unnoticed?
By Ulrike Herrmann
[This article published on 7/19/14 is translated from the German on the Internet, http://www.taz.de.]
The amount is inconceivable. $5.3 trillion race around the globe daily to speculate on currencies. But politics is not interested in that. There isn't a single international agreement that tries to contain currency speculation.
Instead free trade agreements are signed. In Brussels the sixth round of negotiations is underway for the TTIP, the planned agreement between Europe and the US.
These priorities are strange because currency speculation is the real trade barrier since spe4culation can suddenly make exports expensive. From 2010 to 2013 the Euro fluctuated to the dollar between 1.20 and 1.50. Thus German firms experienced that their goods were up to 25 percent more expensive in a few months on the world markets.
These swings had almost nothing to do with the Euro crisis... The dollar and pound also differed just as wildly. Between 2010 and 2013 the pound cost between 1.43 and 1.71 dollars. British exporters were confronted with their goods becoming up to 20 percent more costly abroad.
Measured by these price increases, the "normal" trade barriers are absurd. As the World Trade Organization (WTO) estimates, tariffs in the US amount to an average 3.5 percent; in the EU tariffs are 5.2 percent. Every exporter can live with that.
Eliminating currency speculation would be simple. The big central banks must cooperate, the American Fed, the Bank of England, the European Central Bank and the Japanese Central Bank. These four must always intervene when the price of the currency no longer corresponds to reality.
But what is "reality"? Every German who has vacationed in Italy knows intuitively how currency prices should function. Prices rise much faster there than in Germany. That is why the lira permanently fell compared to the mark. Every summer there was more liras for the same German mark. But one could not buy more. The price for "gelato" converted in marks remained the same. Only the Italian inflation balanced the lira's price drop.
A fundamental law of the economy is hidden behind this. The exchange rates ensure that this is in effect between the currency zones.
Currency speculation destroys this mechanism and money loses its international function. Thus the free traders who constantly invoke the blessings of the global market must be alarmed. However TTIP fans calmly stand by and watch as $5.3 trillion whirl through the world daily and seek lucrative currency bets. When alleged free traders refuse to see the great trade barrier, this can only mean one thing: trade is not uppermost to them. For them, the TTIP is only a vehicle to hide their lobby interests according to the motto: free trade sounds so beautiful like freedom that everybody wants.
This trick is so nice that it is applied repeatedly. Along with the TTIP negotiations, Europe in a parallel way is working on a free trade agreement with Canada. An international service agreement called TISA is also underway.
This flood of agreements is dangerous because citizens and members of Parliament or Congresspersons cannot possibly survey all the details. People can quickly get stuck in particular criticism while the substantial lobby interests remain undiscovered. Therefore fundamental opposition is necessary. Every free trade agreement should be rejected since the theme currency speculation does not occur. Problem solved.