Jeremy Corbyn’s vow to stop the controversial TTIP trade deal is “opportunistic and misguided”, an organisation representing bosses has said.
The Institute of Directors, which lobbies on behalf of business interests, accused the Labour leader of “rushing to judgement” on the EU-US trade treaty before it was finalised..
Mr Corbyn this morning pledged to “reject TTIP and veto it in government” under its current terms.
Campaigners have long warned that the deal, which is being negotiated in secret, would allow corporations to sue governments that harmed their profits because of the inclusion of a clause called “Investor State Dispute Settlement”.
Previous trade treaties to include similar systems have seen national governments forced to pay to multinational corporations for scrapping tax breaks and introducing regulations.
Allie Renison, head of EU and trade policy at the Institute of Directors, said an “overwhelming majority” of IoD members supported TTIP.
“In an interconnected world, easy movement of goods and services across borders is vital to maximising Britain’s economic prosperity,” she said in reaction to Mr Corbyn’s speech.
“An overwhelming majority of IoD members support the US-EU trade deal because a reduction in trade barriers would give a boost to both exporters and importers alike.
“We urge the Labour party to wait until the agreement has been finalised before rushing to judgement. In both Europe and America the principle of free trade is under attack from opportunistic or misguided politicians.
“Now more than ever we need our leaders to stand up and make the positive case for how trade benefits both businesses and consumers through lower prices, a greater variety of products and services, jobs associated with increased exports, and the innovation which competition spurs.”
The organisation says nine out of 10 of its members support TTIP.
Mr Corbyn this morning said his mailbag was full of people asking him to stand up to the deal, however. “Many people are concerned rightly, that it could open up public services to further privatisation – and make privatisation effectively irreversible,” he said in a speech in central London on Thursday.
“Others are concerned about any potential watering down of consumer rights, food safety standards, rights at work or environmental protections and the facility for corporations to sue national governments if regulations impinged on their profits."
Last month French president François Hollande also said he could not accept the TTIP deal in its current form.
Both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump have criticised the deal in the United States and there have been warnings that it may not get off the ground.
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