ITRI | 28 July 2015
European Parliament says REACH must not be included in TTIP
Chemical Watch reports that the European Parliament has asked the European Commission not to negotiate on issues related to REACH and its implementation in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the US.
The Commission should “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,” said the Parliament in a non-binding Resolution adopted last week.
The Parliament also wants the Commission to ensure that any resulting trade agreement between the EU and the US will not affect existing rules or standards that still have to be set in areas where there are major differences between the two sides. These include the implementation of existing legislation, such as REACH, or future definitions affecting the level of protection, such as the criteria for endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs).
The Resolution also says the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) to be included in TTIP should be based on a system run by publicly appointed judges and subject to scrutiny and transparency rules.
This would replace the private arbitration tribunals, under which foreign investors can sue governments at the moment, if they believe their investments in a country have been affected by unjustified government decisions (CW 14 January 2015).
The Commission negotiates TTIP on behalf of the EU on the basis of a mandate set by the member states in 2013 (CW 10 October 2014).
The European Parliament can only vote for or against the agreement, once negotiations are concluded between the EU and US.
Chemicals and food rules are among the controversial issues under discussion (CW 19 May 2015). The EU chief TTIP negotiator Ignacio Garcia Bercero has already ruled out excluding chemicals from the trade negotiations (CW 28 April 2015).
In a meeting with TTIP interest groups, held yesterday in Brussels, Fernando Perreau de Pinninck of the Commission’s Trade Directorate said the Commission’s negotiating approach is in line with Parliament’s Resolution. “REACH and its implementation are not up for negotiation; what we are doing is promoting exchanges of information and cooperation among the regulators.”
He was responding to a call at the meeting by Baskut Tuncak, staff attorney at the Center for International Environmental Law (Ciel), that “the US should respect the opinion of publicly elected officials” and that the Resolution “explicitly calls to exclude chemicals from the scope of TTIP”.