Guarantees in TTIP for consumers and the environment
TTIP can offer many benefits, but they must not interfere with protecting consumers and the environment. The European Union seeks solid guarantees in the agreement to prevent this.
The EU will make no concessions on safety, consumer protection or the environment. One example is hormone-treated meat, which is banned in the EU but permitted in the US. European legislation on biotechnology, like the rules on the use of genetically modified organisms, will also remain in force. The same applies to other bans that the EU considers important, like those on animal testing and chicken disinfected with chlorine.
Every trade agreement entered into by the EU contains a labour clause stating that legislation on employment and social security remains applicable. This allows the EU to retain its own social model. The EU’s high social welfare standards, including the minimum wage, will remain in force.
Protection of privacy
The EU is not negotiating on the protection of privacy with the US. That also applies to data protection. TTIP will contain no provisions on these issues. The Netherlands aims to improve the protection of privacy in the EU, for example through the General Data Protection Regulation.
Sustainable development is an important goal of EU trade policy. Europe does not want trade to harm the environment or labour rights. In the negotiations, for example, the EU insists on compliance with international agreements on trade union rights.
Public services in the EU, like health care and education, are among the best in the world. It therefore protects these services in TTIP and other free trade agreements. Each European trade agreement contains three key guarantees to protect public services:
Governments retain the option of assigning a public service to a single provider. This can be a public monopoly, as with drinking water supply. Or a private company with exclusive rights, like the Dutch railway operator NS.
National service providers
Governments have the right to exclude foreign service providers from the market. In certain circumstances they can also favour national over foreign providers.
Governments are free to make policies and laws on public services. They also retain the right to decide for themselves what they consider public services.
After TTIP has been agreed, governments can therefore continue to regulate public services as they see fit. For example, the prices for medicines. TTIP must not result in restrictions on pricing policy for medicines. The European Commission has confirmed this on its website.