The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership

Over the past couple of years, the United States and the European Union have been negotiating a new trade agreement, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). However, TTIP is not a traditional trade agreement. It is a regulatory agreement aimed at reducing regulatory differences between the US and EU. 80 percent of TTIP’s hypothetical economic benefits would come from eliminating these differences.

The differences reflect legislative progress over the past several years, such as increased amount of information provided by chemicals manufacturers about the safety of industrial chemicals. Due to fundamental differences in the approach to regulate chemicals and that the primary US legislation on industrial chemicals has not been reformed since the 1970s, mutual recognition in this field between the US and EU is difficult to achieve without lowering the level of protection. The European Commission expects chemical manufacturers to be the second largest beneficiary of TTIP, behind the automobile sector.

Since the start of negotiations, some chemical manufacturers have been using TTIP to stall the development of stronger measures on toxic chemicals in the EU, while simultaneously supporting proposed legislation in the US that would further entrench regulatory differences between the US and EU.

In the EU, representatives from parts of the chemical and pesticide industry have used TTIP to fiercely lobby against stronger protections from hormone (endocrine) disrupting chemicals (EDCs).

ChemSec, among many others, believe TTIP would not reduce regulatory differences on chemicals between the EU and US to produce economic benefits, but rather create new methods to weaken, slow or stop the development and implementation of stronger rules for toxic chemicals on both sides of the Atlantic. In the end this would lead to diminished market opportunities for companies with progressive chemicals management.