TTIP, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, is a free trade agreement that aims to promote trade and economic growth between the US and Europe. The focus is primarily on the removal of non-tariff barriers to facilitate trans-Atlantic commerce.
However, its implementation could threaten public health. The EU has adopted a series of reforms to its chemicals regulations that make it better at safely managing chemicals, as compared to the weak laws in the US. For example, chemical manufacturers operating in the EU are required to submit health and safety information, while in the US 85% of applications for placing a chemical on the market contain no health data, and more than 95% contain no eco-toxicity data.[i] But trade representatives consider these more protective standards in the EU to be barriers to trade.
Following years of unsuccessful efforts to block the development of stronger EU laws on toxic chemicals, industry and its government allies have turned to TTIP as a tool to slow, stop, or reverse the implementation of laws that are more protective of public health.
To reduce the risk of this trade agreement hindering important public health and safety goals related to chemicals:
- TTIP must ensure that both the EU and US retain the right to determine their own levels of protection for people, wildlife, and the environment, and to develop and implement measures in the public interest;
- TTIP must not include provisions for investor-state dispute resolution;
- Any measures for regulatory cooperation should not include the chemicals sector or any other sensitive sectors, such as pesticides;
- TTIP should not include provisions for mutual recognition for the chemicals sector and other sensitive sectors;
- TTIP should not impede the authorities of states and local governments, or of governments outside the United States and EU, to adopt new health and environmental initiatives, including their right to choose higher levels of protection for their citizens;
- TTIP should not impede regulatory efforts to address emerging issues of concern, such as endocrine disrupting chemicals, nanotechnology, or hydraulic fracturing;
- TTIP should be negotiated in a single undertaking, and;
- TTIP must be negotiated in an open, transparent, and participatory manner that safeguards the public interest in the outcomes of the negotiations.
[i] US EPA, Overview: Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics Programs Overview: Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics Program, 8 (January 2007), available at: http://www.epa.gov/oppt/pubs/oppt101c2.pdf; and US EPA, Q&A New chemicals program, 1-55 (2004), available at: http://www.epa.gov/opptintr/newchems/pubs/qanda-newchems.pdf.