TTIP chart shows how far advanced EU-US trade deal negotiations really are
Of the 27 TTIP chapters, 18 are more than half way through the negotiating process
Days before Greenpeace Netherlands leaked 13 chapters of secret documents exposing the US and EU sides of a sweeping transatlantic trade deal, the European Commission released its own document outlining the state of play.
The EC chart shows the 27 chapters that make up the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, 18 are more than half way through the negotiation process as the proposals from both sides are consolidated into one text.
When consolidation happens, the US and EU proposals are put together with the remaining topics for discussions marked in brackets. These bracket are then closed up as agreements are reached.
The chart shows competition rules, for example, are in an advanced state of consolidation and close to being agreed.
EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström said in a note accompanying the progress report that the goal was to finish negotiations by the end of this year.
"Needless to say, I would like for us to conclude this year, and I do think that it can be done," Malmström said.
She has sought to downplay the differences in the consolidated texts by saying it shouldn't be a surprise that the EU and the US had different views.
"They reflect each side's negotiating position, nothing else," Malmström said. "That does not mean that the other side gives in to those demands."
Activist groups have said that the EU is at risk of lowering standards as it seeks to conclude the deal.
Greenpeace director Jorgo Riss said that Malmström was being "disingenuous" by suggesting TTIP talks weren't at an advanced stage or than EU standards would not be compromised.
"Commissioner Malmström is being disingenuous. In several areas the US proposes to lower EU standards, but there are no EU proposals in the leaked consolidated documents to counter this," Riss said.
Greenpeace's concerns focus on four key areas, most of which fall under the chapter 22 on sustainable development which is still at the proposal stage. The EC said it expects consolidation of the EU and US proposals on sustainable development to start "shortly".
1. Long standing environmental protections appear to be dropped
None of the chapters in the leak reference the 70-year-old "general exceptions" rule that allows nations to put people, animals and the environment before trade and profit.
2. Climate protection will be harder under TTIP
Nothing indicating climate protection can be found in the leaked texts, despite the Paris Climate Agreement to stop temperature rising more than 1.5 per cent.
3. The end of the "precautionary principle"
This ensures a higher level of environmental protection by enshrining preventative decision-making. Instead the US demands a risk-based approach, which manages the risks of, say, hazardous chemicals, rather than banning them as a precaution.
4. Opening the door for corporate takeover
Greenpeace said the leaked documents show that big business has had more influence on decision-making than the EC has admitted.
"The EU’s recent public report has only one minor mention of industry input, whereas the leaked documents repeatedly talk about the need for further consultations with industry and explicitly mention how industry input has been collected," Greenpeace said.
Independent News Service