European Parliament | 2 December 2014
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and Labour
Briefing for the EP’s Employment and Social Affairs Committee
Given the global weight of the EU and US trade and investment relationships, labour provisions in the TTIP have the potential to become a model. Negotiations on the text will start in 2015. The European Parliament considers a more integrated transatlantic market to be crucial and is being regularly involved in all discussions.
As recent analysis shows, trade-labour linkages in agreements have been evolving over the last two decades and, more recently, also in bilateral investment agreements. They refer mainly to ILO labour standards (ILO Declaration 1998 on Fundamental Rights and Principles, ILO Fundamental Conventions and more recently the Decent Work Agenda of the ILO Declaration 2008).
Both the EU and US are already integrating labour provisions in their agreements to a high extent; these provisions showing a number of similarities. The main differences remain with regard to the Decent Work Agenda and the Fundamental Conventions which have become a standard for the EU, but not in US agreements. These refer to ’internationally recognised workers’ rights’ as defined in the US Trade Act. To enhance enforcement, the EU tends to count on reporting and political dialogue, while the US agreements contain provisions on economic sanctioning, which hitherto rarely have been applied.
Due to their potential implications for labour, a number of other areas are in the focus of public attention: services, public procurement and the investment dispute settlement mechanism. The Council Mandate calls for the exemption of public services and a comprehensive liberalisation of public procurement, while making investment protection mechanisms dependent on the results of negotiations.
Estimates on the potential of job creation differ depending on the economic model and assumptions used for simulation. They range from job gains to job losses.