Chemical Watch | 26 March 2015
Germany worries about TTIP’s impact on environmental standards
The German Federal Environment Agency (UBA) is worried that the stated aim of the EU-US negotiations for a free trade agreement to bring regulations and standards as close together as possible, may lower environmental standards in the EU.
In a position paper on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations, the agency says that many standards are very different in the two blocs, and they tend to be lower in the US.
An attempt to bring them closer is more likely to be downwards, resulting in a lowering of EU standards, according to the agency.
The UBA points out differences in the adoption of the UN Globally Harmonized System (GHS) for classification and labelling of chemicals as one example, among others, of standards diverging and being difficult to unify.
The UBA is also unhappy about the European Commission’s proposals for regulatory cooperation between the EU and the US, which would require the two blocs to inform each other of planned legislation very early in the process (CW 12 February 2015).
The German agency thinks that the US could have access to EU draft legislation, before EU countries or the European Parliament.
The agency calls for cooperation between the EU and the US on climate protection and resource conservation, as well as for common efforts to reduce environmentally harmful subsidies.
The ninth round of TTIP negotiations will take place in Washington, DC, on 20-24 April.
Meanwhile, the Commission has published a guide, aiming to dispel, what it calls, the top ten myths about TTIP.