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8 December 2015

New Briefing Paper on TTIP sheds light on negotiations and key themes of the controversial partnership

In the context of a process that began almost two years ago, the eleventh negotiating round of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) was concluded at the end of October 2015. In a new Briefing Paper released by the Observatoire Social Européen (OSE), senior ETUI researcher Martin Myant describes why the negotiating parties want a TTIP, what the agreement is likely to contain, and what such liberalisation of trade could lead to.

The paper argues that the TTIP as currently envisaged offers European citizens no improvements in economic or social conditions. On the contrary, the partnership threatens a reduction in protection for employees and consumers and a substantial enhancement of the power of private business. Labour standards are most likely to be undermined unless a strong chapter on labour protection is introduced into the partnership agreement. A labour chapter should, ideally, include full commitment to fundamental ILO conventions by stipulating their incorporation into national legal frameworks.

The paper’s principal focus is the notorious Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), which, considering past experiences, poses potential risks, namely the abovementioned enhancement of the power of private business and reduced forms of protection for employees and consumers. Despite the slight improvement effected by the new proposal from the European Commission in September, establishment of the ISDS would entail no significant positive effects. If the partnership is to continue at all, says the Briefing Paper, then it should do so minus the ISDS and plus some means of ensuring that attempts to achieve compatibility will not result in a loss of regulatory protections.

Further reading: TTIP: what it will mean for us and what is the alternative?

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