TTIP – “Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership” – Risks

Study commissioned by the EU Parliament identifies risks of TTIP for regulatory freedom of EU in the areas of the environment and food safety. So far, European and American NGO’s, parliamentarians and citizens continuously expressed the feeling that the negotiation process has been far from transparent.

In 2013, US and EU officials have begun negotiations on a free trade agreement dubbed the “Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership”. If it goes into force, it will encompass nearly half of all global GDP and could play a large role in defining future trade negotiations across the globe. Negotiations will focus on issues such as the harmonisation of rules in various areas (technical standards, intellectual property) and investment protection, among other. The EU’s (leaked) negotiation mandate highlights that TTIP is not to lead to a downward harmonisation of environmental or safety standards or to curb the regulatory freedom of either side. Nonetheless, and on the basis of experiences with trade and investment agreements negotiated in the past, there are concerns, among non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and beyond, that TTIP could do precisely that. Against this background, the purpose of the study liked above is to investigate the potential impact of TTIP on the EU acquis and its right to regulate in the areas of the environment and food safety.

The regulatory differences between the EU and the US in the areas of GMOs, chemicals regulation, treatment of poultry meat and emissions from the aviation sector: Overall, the US have chosen to either not acknowledge risks to the environment and human health recognised by the EU, or to address such risks in ways which markedly differ from the approach chosen in Europe. For instance, the US more often relies on voluntary guidelines rather than mandatory requirements.

Problem: Investor-state dispute resolution (ISDR) provisions.
ISDRs establish the right of private actors, typically companies, who believe that a party to an investment agreement has violated the agreement, to bring claims against that party (for example a EU governement) in a judicial forum outside of national courts. In ISDR claims, investors most frequently seek monetary compensation for behaviour by the host state that negatively affected their business, including losses due to changes in government policies. For example, Swedish energy company Vattenfall currently claims several hundred millions Euro in compensation from Germany, based on Germany’s decision to phase-out nuclear energy. If TTIP contains broadly worded investment protection clauses, ISDR could hamper the EU and Member States in efforts to establish regulations seeking to protect their citizens or the environment.

More information here:

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