An Taisce's and the TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership)

8th July 2014

An Taisce believes that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and the US is a major cause of concern. 

We believe that it will undermine and compromise the ability of Europe to establish, maintain and further develop effective environmental policies.

We are also concerned that these deals, which may have very far‐reaching implications for Ireland and Europe, are being negotiated without a sufficient degree of transparency or democratic control of the process.

We wrote a letter to Minister Bruton - see below


Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation
23 Kildare Street,
Dublin 2

28.05.14

Re: An Taisce concerns and recommendations on CETA and TTIP negotiations

Cc: Minister for State John Perry; Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore; Minster for State Joe Costello

Dear Minister Bruton,

With this letter I wish to share with you the key concerns and recommendations of An Taisce – The National Trust for Ireland, in relation to the negotiations on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and the US, for which negotiations started in June 2013, as well as the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada, which is pending conclusion.

Our concerns centre on the risk and even likelihood that the resulting agreements will undermine and compromise the ability of Europe to establish, maintain and further develop effective environmental policies. We are also concerned that these deals, which may have very far‐reaching implications for Ireland and Europe, are being negotiated without a sufficient degree of transparency or democratic control of the process.

The two elements that we consider most problematic and which we understand the EU is so far supporting are the proposals for Regulatory Cooperation and for Investor State Dispute Settlement Mechanisms. The first element, whether sector specific or horizontal, bears the risk of undermining the implementation and

further development of effective environmental policies by creating new procedures, criteria and governance bodies that will effectively act as a barrier to the EU legislative process. The second element bears the risk that, even if the EU regulators would still be able to propose something meaningful in theory, they would no longer be able to do so in practice as it would expose the EU to expensive lawsuits by corporate interests which would be decided in specially created tribunals allowing them to escape the domestic court system. We welcome the fact that the Commission has decided to reflect further on this issue for a period and to consult the public before pursuing it through the negotiations and hope that this will result in the idea being abandoned.

In addition to these issues, and relating specifically to Irish agriculture, we are concerned that removing regulations to allow North American beef and Dairy into the European markets will make it more difficult for Irish farmers to compete. This reduce returns per kg for Irish farmers and ultimately provide an incentive for farmers to farm in a more intensive and less environmentally sustainable way. As such, both farming livelihoods and Ireland’s environmental health could be compromised by these trade agreements.

Given the clear and imminent potential threat to environmental protection and to the associated benefits for European citizens, An Taisce calls for you to do everything in your power to:

  • Demand that EU negotiators provide full public access to all negotiating documents, and that a comprehensive Sustainability Impact Assessment is finalised rapidly and used as a basis for furthernegotiations. This should include a decision on whether to proceed with the negotiations at all;
  • Demand that the European Parliament, Ireland, and other EU Member States firmly reject therecently agreed CETA deal with Canada due to its inclusion of an Investor State Dispute Settlementmechanism, which the Sustainability Impact Assessment commissioned by the EuropeanCommission advised not to include;
  • Demand that the European Commission work to ensure that TTIP excludes mechanisms for Regulatory Cooperation, Investor State Dispute Settlement, fast track ratification as well as deeperforms of regulatory cooperation in the field of energy, climate, chemicals, agriculture and food, and other areas where environmental policy risks being weakened;
  • Demand that the European Parliament, Ireland, and other Member States reject a final TTIP deal should the Commission fail to exclude any of the above contentious issues.

Our concerns are expressed in more detail in the enclosed document “Regulatory rollback: how the TTIP puts the environment at risk”. This document was prepared by the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), a network of NGOs of which An Taisce is a member.