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Transatlantic trade deal must not dilute environmental safeguards

10 March 2015

Environmental Audit Committee publishes its report on the environmental risks of the Transatlantic Trade & Investment partnership (TTIP)


A TTIP agreement, currently being negotiated by the European Union and the US, could weaken European and UK environmental and public health regulations if laxer US regulations are ‘mutually accepted’ in the deal, the Environmental Audit Committee warns today. TTIP could also risks producing a chill effect on future environmental regulations, particularly if its proposed investment dispute settlement system — Investor-State Dispute Settlement or ‘ISDS’ — presents US companies with an opportunity to sue European states for introducing new regulations which make it more difficult for them to sell to us.

The extent of these risks is unclear at the moment, partly because the negotiations have some way still to go, and because a European Commission ‘Sustainability Impact Assessment’ has yet to be produced.

Environmental Audit Committee Chair, Joan Walley MP, said:

"The focus in TTIP has been on its potential for boosting transatlantic trade, but that must not be at the expense of throwing away hard-won environmental and public-health protections. As the TTIP negotiations proceed, the next Government will have to get itself involved, and ensure that the EU negotiators do not engage in a race to the bottom as it combines the two bloc’s regulatory systems.

Europe must retain its right to regulate. That needs to be embedded in any treaty text. But more importantly, any Dispute Settlement provision must unambiguously deny US companies any opportunity to sue us when we look to introduce necessary environmental or public health safeguards."

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