Leaked documents relating to the controversial free trade deal being negotiated between the EU and US confirm that both sides are seeking to further influence each other’s rule-making.
The papers reveal that American negotiators are proposing to include procedures and regulatory principles in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership( TTIP) that will help the US government and US businesses in their efforts to change EU rules to their benefit.
ClientEarth lawyer Laurens Ankersmit said: “The US is proposing to include ‘notice-and-comment’ procedures in the Regulatory Cooperation chapter. If that plan makes it into the TTIP, US business will be able to co-draft EU rules, as they are accustomed to in the United States.
“The US proposals are also significantly wider in scope. The US wants to regulate how rules are made at both EU level and at Member State level. This means that a huge number of rules in the future would be subject to the procedures in the Regulatory Cooperation chapter.”
The Regulatory Cooperation chapter further contains a number of policy instruments that have been part of EU and US domestic policy instruments aiming at ‘cutting red-tape’ and removing ‘unnecessary’ legislation.
The EU proposals contain provisions requiring regulatory authorities to undertake impact assessments, periodically review legislation, and allow for stakeholder consultations with a view to minimising the impact of rules on trade. These proposals are also part of the EU’s deregulatory ‘Better Regulation’ agenda.
Laurens Ankersmit said: “The Better Regulation agenda should not become part of TTIP. It would codify this deregulatory policy into a legally-binding international agreement with a heavy focus on the impact on trade, rather than people or the environment.
“In the case of endocrine disrupting chemicals, we have already seen that this approach to impact assessments and stakeholder consultations has caused serious delays in implementing chemicals legislation in Europe.”
Environmental lawyers ClientEarth, HEAL, the Centre for International Environmental Law (CIEL), and the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) called upon the EU trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström to remove the Better Regulation inspired provisions from the TTIP in an open letter last week.