On 10th of June the full European Parliament will vote on its recommendations to the European Commission regarding the negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). In the lead up to this vote, several of the Parliament’s committees are discussing the key issues at stake. CHEM Trust has today joined with over 25 organisations in sending a letter to Bernd Lange MEP, who chairs the Parliament’s International Trade Committee, asking for the committee to support exclusion of chemicals from TTIP.
This letter follows on from a vote in the European Parliament’s Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee in April, who agreed to call on the European Commission to exclude chemicals and four other health-related areas from TTIP negotiations:
[The Committee] “Calls on the Commission to ensure that there are no trade-offs between economic goals and public health, food safety, animal welfare and the environment; calls on the Commission to recognise that where the EU and the US have very different rules, there will be no agreement, such as on public healthcare services, GMOs, the use of hormones in the bovine sector, REACH and its implementation, and the cloning of animals for farming purposes, and therefore not to negotiate on these issues” [our emphasis]
The International Trade committee will be voting on 28th May on their resolution on TTIP.
The letter to the committee chair, from more than 25 organisations, makes the case for excluding chemicals from the scope of TTIP, arguing that:
- EU and US citizens need greater protection from toxic chemicals such as cancer causing and hormone disrupting substances – not burdensome new procedures.
- The US government has a long track record in criticising the EU’s approach to hazardous chemicals as trade barriers and has recently claimed that the Commission’s approach to hormone disrupters could be contrary to TTIP’s objectives.
- The proposal for regulatory cooperation seeks to establish a mechanism to jointly harmonise and simplify all “regulatory actions” which could weaken existing EU chemicals and pesticide rules. It could also limit the ability of US states to regulate toxic chemicals.
The European Parliament will have to approve the final TTIP agreement for it to enter into force, as is stated on their web site:
Once the talks are completed the deal has to have the consent of the European Parliament, as well as the backing of EU member countries, before it can enter into force. The negotiations are conducted by the EU Commission. The mandate for the negotiators – setting out what has to be achieved and safeguarded during the talks – is adopted by the EU Council. Although Parliament only has the power to monitor the talks process while it is under way, it has the political clout, as one of the two final co-legislators, to influence the direction of the talks and sound the alarm if it considers the talks are going in the wrong direction.