European Trade Union Institute, ETUI.

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30 September 2014

TTIP: economic benefits exaggerated – alternative vision needed

trade commissioner Malmström

A new ETUI policy brief shows that the economic benefits of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) have been seriously exaggerated. The brief supports the idea of an alternative globalisation agenda which would enshrine higher labour and environmental standards in global trade negotiations.

The TTIP is one of the most controversial issues currently on the agenda of EU policymakers. On Monday 29 September, trade commissioner-designate Cecilia Malmström was interrogated at length about her vision for the trade pact. She admitted that controversial investor protections in the proposed agreement were politically ‘toxic’ but remained unclear whether these investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanisms will be part of the final deal.

The ETUI policy brief written by senior researcher Martin Myant demonstrates that the TTIP talks are in danger of becoming ‘an agenda for large-scale deregulation’ and that the ISDS would ‘bias power further in favour of private business’.

In his policy recommendations the author therefore proposes to reject the ISDS and to call on the EU to support an alternative globalisation agenda which should enshrine higher labour and environmental standards in global trade negotiations. ‘Transforming TTIP negotiations into a platform for harmonisation of standards at a higher level, including the incorporation of labour and environmental standards as essential elements, could encourage changes across the globalisation agenda'.

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