The disadvantages of TTIP
TTIP could also have disadvantages. Jobs may disappear in certain sectors. And there are concerns about the lowering of standards on, for example, food safety and the environment. Or the consequences for low- and middle-income countries. The Dutch government takes these concerns seriously.
The disappearance of jobs in some sectors
Increased international competition will lead to fewer jobs in some sectors. Research has shown, for example, that jobs will be lost among producers and exporters of machinery and meat. The Netherlands is looking for ways to compensate for job losses. The Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation is consulting the trade unions on this issue.
TTIP must not have a negative impact on our European social model. The government seeks to safeguard labour relations and terms of employment in the Netherlands. The government has asked the Social and Economic Council (SER) for advice on protecting labour standards in TTIP.
Concerns about lower standards
There are concerns that TTIP will lead to lower European standards. Like standards on food safety, the environment, privacy and labour conditions. TTIP’s benefits must not be brought about at the expense of people, animals and the environment. The Netherlands and the EU want to see firm guarantees to this effect in the agreement. See What guarantees does the EU want to see in TTIP?
Concerns about TTIP’s impact on low- and middle-income countries
TTIP could have an adverse impact on some low- and middle-income countries and their products. Yet TTIP’s benefits for these countries seem to outweigh the disadvantages. Higher economic growth in the US and the EU means, for example, more market opportunities for other countries, including poorer ones. The agreement should also make it easier for developing countries to export to the EU and the US.
The economic benefits of TTIP must not be enjoyed at the expense of low- and middle-income countries. The Netherlands believes that the agreement must offer just as many benefits to these countries, too. It has consistently called for a focus on these countries’ interests. The Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation has commissioned a thorough study of TTIP’s impact on them.
Concerns that companies will be able to do as they please
Some civil society organisations are concerned that the investment protection provided by TTIP will give companies too much power. They fear it will limit governments’ democratic scope to make laws and regulations. This is known as the regulatory chill effect. Foreign investors that feel they have been disadvantaged can, for example, challenge a government decision.
The Netherlands and the EU want to see a chapter on investment protection in TTIP that will prevent this from happening. That can be achieved by setting clear rules for conflicts between governments and investors. TTIP presents an opportunity to improve the traditional system of investment protection. The European Commission and the Netherlands are pressing for balanced system of investment protection that precludes abuse.