TTIP – Increased Trade for Better Living?
Dear Friends of ELIANT,
“TTIP – Increased Trade for Better Living?” This was the title of the conference
organised by ELIANT and its Alliance partner Demeter International in Brussels on
the 15th and 16th June together with European Public Health Alliance (EPHA). Our aim
was to initiate a constructive dialogue between civil society organisations, the TTIP
negotiators and political decision makers. The conference outcomes were a series of
recommendations for decision makers. The first of these recommendations (see below)
were presented to the European Commission and political decision makers in Brussels and
then published on 23rd June at the 'European Trade Policy Day'.
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)
The European Commission and the United States are currently negotiating this free trade
agreement. The aim of TTIP is to make trade and investment easier between the EU and USA
and wherever possible to harmonise their respective laws and regulations. The negotiations
cover all the important economic sectors such as industry, health provision (including
medicines and medical products), food and agriculture. Supporters hope this will encourage
economic growth on both sides of the Atlantic, produce more jobs and by creating the largest
internal market in the world with over 800 million consumers, secure a competitive advantage
in the global economy.
The concerns of ELIANT
Michaela Glöckler president of ELIANT, addressed the panel on 'TTIP negotiations and civil
society concerns' and laid out ELIANT's concerns. She argued that it was in the public interest to
include more civil society stakeholders in the TTIP negotiations. If a transparent international
tribunal for Investor-State Dispute Settlements (ISDS) were to be established, civil society had
an important role to play. ELIANT and its partners are advocating a fair and democratic trade
agreement in Brussels that takes account of the true needs of citizens in Europe and the USA.
The European values of cultural diversity, freedom of choice and the continued availability of
choice must be upheld. They are put at risk if the TTIP negotiations take place without
reference to them.
Many civil society organisations are deeply worried that TTIP could undermine our democratic
laws and rights. Most notorious in this respect are the plans for Investor-State Dispute
Settlements (ISDS). These would give foreign corporations the right to sue the host Government
within an unofficial international court setting and operating without transparency and behind
The other big worry concerns TTIP’s objectives in relation to regulations and standards. No one
objects to the mutual recognition and harmonisation of standards in the car or engineering
industries since these bring clear benefits to both producer and consumer. Where they affect
food, nutrition and medicines however, the harmonisation of US and EU standards becomes
problematic. Food regulations in the EU are based on the precautionary principle in complete
contrast to those in the US. The EU is not yet willing to give up this approach. With regard to
rules and regulations there are many other examples which judged solely from the perspective
of easing trade, would be inadequate and even fatal.
The recommendations of ELIANT
The aim of the conference was to provide decision makers with a list of concrete
recommendations for developing better and more just international trading relationships that
can benefit both society and the environment. Here are the most important points on our list:
- In a democratic society there is no justification for keeping such far reaching trade
negotiations secret. Citizens and their elected representatives must be kept abreast
of the negotiations as they proceed and be informed of their consequences.
- Instead of giving up sovereignty over our product standards, we should aim to
improve and protect them using good examples and advising our trading partners
regarding best practice. A good example of this is the concept of 'from producer to
consumer' (farm to fork).
- Agriculture should be excluded from TTIP. Trade agreements should affirm the
sovereign right of trading partners to decide whether the import of particular
products should be allowed, in accordance with the precautionary principle that is
valid in Europe. An independent scientific assessment should ascertain any risk or
uncertainty. Further relevant socio-economic and ecological consequences
for agriculture must also be considered when making such a decision.
- Health services are not like other services: The fundamental principle of universal
health provision is non-negotiable. It is therefore vital that both public and privately
financed health provision is excluded from TTIP.
- ISDS undermines the principle of democracy and its progress and hence
the sovereignty of society; it also discriminates against local business. It should
therefore not be part of TTIP.
Dear Friends of ELIANT, we intend to continue our campaign regarding TTIP. ELIANT aims to
keep a close eye on the negotiations and defend and protect the interests of civil society by
engaging in a constructive dialogue with the institutions of the EU. To carry out this vital work
we need your financial support. We will continue to keep you informed of our ongoing work
and thank you most warmly for your interest. We are very grateful for your help and support.
With warm greetings
on behalf of the ELIANT Carrying group
Dr. med. Michaela Glöckler