The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a big deal. It’s a big deal for everybody who relies on the land and sea on either side of the Pond. In this connected world, that means the TTIP is a big deal for everybody.
The European Commission (EC) tells us the authorised version of TTIP news. There we see that the European Union (EU)‘s Chief Negotiator Ignacio Garcia Bercero wants everybody to feel excited but calm.
Mr Bercero doesn’t talk about any of the concerns I’ve mentioned on this blog. Things like genetically modified (GM, genetically engineered, biotech) crops. Things like antibiotic growth promoters in livestock feed.
Instead, we learn, ‘The key phrase is regulatory cooperation – creating similar regulations from the outset, rather than having to try to adapt them later. A more integrated transatlantic marketplace would respect each side’s right to regulate the protection of health, safety and the environment at a level it considers appropriate. But by aligning their domestic standards, both sides could set the benchmark for developing global rules – benefiting EU and US exporters, and the wider global trading system.’
Meanwhile Bilaterals (‘everything that’s not happening in the World Trade Organization‘) shows us a different perspective on TTIP news. There we see an unauthorised report about a petition in Germany entitled ‘No gifts for Monsanto, BASF & Co’.
Also at Bilaterals, we see discussion of a leaked proposal for transatlantic trade. ‘It might be not possible for EU trade negotiators to brush-off public concern over US-origin GMOs… chlorinated chickens or hormone beef. But even if these products are not included in the negotiation phase of the deal, they could easily be allowed in the long term via this system of regulatory cooperation. If adopted, this proposal will be a huge victory for corporate lobbying on both sides of the Atlantic.’
Here’s another point of view. Andrea Vota at The Euros gave us, in May 2013, a summary of the TTIP plans. ‘The thorniest issue is the one concerning food safety and agriculture. In fact, the liberalisation of food products like meat treated with hormones to stimulate growth, chlorinated chicken or GMOs is one of the most significant issues that could prevent a conclusion of a trade partnership agreement between the two regions. As an example, in the EU, it is forbidden to either produce or to import from third countries meat that has been treated with ractopamine. On the contrary, ractopamine is regularly used by American farmers to increase the leaness of their animals. If the deal were made, there is a risk that food such as pork meat treated with ractopamine or other growth hormones could regularly enter into the European market.
‘The USA believes that this kind of non-tariff measure hinders free trade with Europe, while the EU thinks that this is a crucial issue for the health of European citizens. It is not for nothing that the EFSA (the European Food Safety Authority) has addressed the ractopamine issue on several occasions. These two differing opinions, that of America and that of the European Union, are being heard ever more frequently and in different sectors. More free trade on the one hand, better protection for citizen health on the other.’