#TTIPLeaks: Greenpeace claims leaks prove that trade deal will weaken environmental protections

160502TTIPLeaks4Greenpeace claim leaked documents representing 13 negotiation chapters shows that TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Programme) proposals will seriously undermine human health and environmental protections if negotiations continue on the current path. The Commission has issued a statement to say the documents merely reflect negotiation positions.

Greenpeace should be reassured that one of the areas where there is disagreement is on agriculture. In Greenpeace’s own words: “Far from agreement, the two parties’ philosophy on agriculture are in opposition and further, parties cannot agree on the means to resolve these differences. The EU wants the agreement to state that nothing will restrain the parties from taking measures necessary to achieve legitimate policy objectives such as the promotion and protection of public health, safety, environment, public morals, even cultural diversity. The US, in contrast, considers such measures “trade distorting” and advocates for lower standards of protection.” The EU appear to defend the EU’s overriding interest in protecting human health and the environment.

Commission issues statement

The Trade Commissioner, Cecilia Malmström points out that the so-called “consolidated texts” are not an outcome, but are documents that reflect each sides negotiating position. The texts are useful in indicating that there is still disagreement in approach, but this agreement is already well documented. Greenpeace highlight some of the differences, for example, the different assessment approach to risk favoured by the US chemical industries.

The Commission say that it is only normal that both parties in a negotiation want to achieve as many of their own objectives as possible, but that does not mean that the other side gives in to those demands. After all, there would be no need for negotiation if there were no areas of disagreement.

The Commission also challenge the Greenpeace assertion that  EU industry has greater access to EU negotiating positions than other stakeholders. The Commission are clear that they do take into account submissions by industry, but that they also take into account the views of trade unions, consumer groups, health and environmental organisations – all of which are represented in the advisory group that regularly meets the EU negotiating team. It would be odd and a deviation to the Commission’s commitment to ‘Better Regulation’ if they didn’t take account of industry’s views.

The Commission say that they are not in the business of lowering standards, but say that they might be willing to set rules on say the safety of medicines that would be tougher. Commissioner Malmström stated: “I have a clear negotiating mandate for the negotiations given to the Commission by 28 EU governments, that clearly spells out what a successful agreement has to look like, and what our non-negotiable red lines are. And as always, the end result of a negotiation would have to be cleared by those 28 Member States and the European Parliament before becoming reality.”

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Category: A Frontpage, Economy, EU, European Commission, Exports, Featured Article, Investment, Politics, Trade, Trade agreements, Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), Transparency, Uncategorized, US, World

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