EU plans a sustainable TTIP

24th November 2015

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The European commission wants sustainable development, labour and environment provisions included the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement it is negotiating with the US.

With the talks on the bilateral deal continuing, the commission is proposing a chapter on trade and sustainable development. This would aim to establish high standards for labour and the environment and ensure the EU and US work together to address challenges such as child labour, health and safety at work and protection of the environment.

Trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström said: "Child labour, insufficient workers' rights or irresponsible corporate behaviour are global scourges that I want trade policy to help us deal with."

The plans were outlined by the commission in a new strategy, "Trade for all", which it said aimed to make trade policies more responsible both in Europe and globally. The EU text on environment issues covers: better cooperation between the bloc and the US on tackling illegal logging and fishing; measures to prevent or minimise adverse effects on human health and the environment from chemicals and waste; support for trade and investment in green goods and technologies; and a commitment to the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystems.

Negotiations started in February on the TTIP, which seeks to lower trade barriers between the EU and US. The plans have been condemned by environment campaigners who fear "regulatory convergence" would result in less stringent regulations on pesticides and toxic substances, for example.

Ilana Solomon, at the environmental body, the US Sierra Club, described the proposal was anything but sustainable. "It's window-dressing, at best. Not only are the supposed environmental safeguards toothless but the proposal lacks any enforcement mechanism," she said.

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