TTIP receives a lot of criticism. But it is by far not the only free-trade agreement in the world. In fact our much acclaimed EU started as a free-trade agreement.
E.g. people worry about the arbitration courts (ISDS). However I do not know if this is anything special, or just something that tends to be part of a free-trade agreement. Is this something, that is unique to TTIP?
Likewise for the other arguments, like negotiations being held in secret. Are free-trade agreements usually negotiated in public? I don't recall much public debate about the free-trade aspects of the EU, but I may be wrong.
Obviously the fact the this is a free-trade agreement between the EU and the USA makes it unique, but other than that, what is there that smells more funny than free-trade agreements usually smell?
After asking a couple of friends and reading the comments here, the following peculiarities are on the table:
The parties of TTIP are extraordinarily diverse, particularly when it comes to liability issues. While the EU bets on tight "preventive" regulations, the US tends to sue companies after the fact. However, this may just be the usual mud you have to wade through when you negotiate a free-trade agreement.
The negotiations are not performed by politicians but by businessmen. Not sure if this is really unusual. Some people are afraid of giving "the industry" too much power over polititicans, though IMHO this gives politicians and regulators more credit than they deserve.
I don't know if any of that is really unusual, because I don't know the details of the roundabout seven other free trade agreements in the world.
ISDS appears not to be special at all. It seems obvious that you cannot settle investor state disputes within the jurisdiction of the offending country, though maybe there are better ways than how TTIP's ISDS is currently designed.
And personally, I don't buy the "chlorine washed chicken" story as anything unusual.