On the eve of the next round of talks to agree an EU-US free trade agreement, TACD has joined civil society organisations from both sides of the Atlantic in calling on the European Commission to ensure an open and transparent negotiation process.
A trade deal of historic proportions
The proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is the biggest bilateral trade agreement ever attempted. As well as eliminating tariffs, negotiators are aiming to bring swathes of laws and regulations on both sides of the Atlantic into line with each other and in doing so make trading between the two blocs easier and less costly for businesses.
However, there are real concerns that this will result in a regulatory ‘race to the bottom’ and that vital consumer protection safeguards could be traded away in order to seal the deal.
The public has a right to know
TACD shares the concerns of civil society as a whole about the secrecy that has shrouded the TTIP negotiations to date. Although there have been steps in the right direction, including the establishment of a stakeholder advisory group by the EU, far more must be done to ensure full transparency.
With consumer protection, the environment and the health of the EU and US economies at stake, citizens have the right to know what is being negotiated on their behalf. This is why TACD has joined the call to open up the negotiation process to scrutiny and to release the negotiating texts and related documents in full to the public.
The demands in full
Over 250 organisations, including consumer groups, trade unions, and other civil society organisations, have now signed a joint letter to European Trade Commissioner Karel de Grucht outlining their concerns and demanding full transparency.