Business and NGOs divided over TTIP regulatory cooperation

While EU and US negotiators are meeting this week in Washington, business groups and civil society organisations have released contradictory statements about regulatory cooperation in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.


Businesses on both sides of the Atlantic want coordination between regulators to be hardwired into the deal to remove barriers to trade.

But 33 NGOs signed a joint declaration of their “deep concern and firm opposition” to such cooperation on rules, arguing it will drive down standards in areas such as chemicals, food standards and financial services.

The European Commission has repeatedly said that would not be allowed to happen, a position echoed by trade commissioner-designate Cecilia Malmström

“It cannot be about lowering standards, but about avoiding extra costs – the costs entailed for example in the duplication of factory inspections and unnecessary divergences of approach,” she said on 30 September.

“As a doctor, I will say no to any attempt to lower EU standards. One cannot compromise on that. These standards shall not be sacrificed for free trade. The high EU standards have also facilitated our global exports,” Vytenis Andriukaitis, candidate for health Commissioner, said the same day.

The contrasting positions highlight the deep divisions in the EU over the proposed free trade agreement, as negotiators conduct the seventh round of talks in Washington this week.

The NGOs, including FinanceWatch, War on Want, and Germany’s Bund, called on the negotiators to, “take the proposals on regulatory cooperation off the table”.

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