“Trade is not just about our economic interests, but also about values. That’s why we are proposing a very ambitious approach to sustainable development in the EU-US trade talks.”
The European Commission published today its proposal for a chapter on trade and sustainable development, including labour and the environment, in the ongoing EU-US trade talks.
The proposed chapter on sustainable development in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) offers the most ambitious provisions ever put forward on these issues to any trading partner. This approach follows the new EU trade strategy, ‘Trade for all‘, which aims at more responsible trade policies both at home and globally.
The key purpose of this chapter is to ensure that high standards for labour and environment are upheld both in the EU and the US and that we work together to address the challenges of the global economy such as child labour, health and safety at work and other rights of workers and the protection of environment, among others. Once we will have reached an agreement, the EU will work to ensure that all the provisions of this chapter are respected, implemented and enforced.
Presenting the new proposal, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström said:
“Trade is not only a tool to create new economic opportunities for consumers, workers and employers, but also a tool to help the world become a more responsible place. Trade is not just about our economic interests, but also about values. Child labour, insufficient workers’ rights or irresponsible corporate behaviour are global scourges that I want trade policy to help us deal with. I made it my clear priority in the new ‘Trade for All’ strategy and I want to put it into practice in our agreement with the US. That’s why we are proposing a very ambitious approach to sustainable development in the EU-US trade talks, which will be respected, implemented and enforced when we sign up to them. Working together with the US would make us more efficient in fighting globally for more responsible practices. At the same time we would ensure that our existing high, yet sometimes different, standards in the EU and the US are upheld.
Our trade talks with the US will see more transparency as we go along. That’s why I am making this proposal public today, for everyone to see what we want to do. At the same time, we are also releasing our first detailed report of the latest TTIP negotiating round, available on our website.”
The proposal on sustainable developmentin TTIP presents an integrated approach on trade and sustainable development, also covering labour and the environment and reaffirms the right of governments to regulate on labour and environmental protection. The proposal also refers to commitments made as part of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and Multilateral Environmental Agreements, to ensure that both sides respect a common set of fundamental labour standards and environmental rules. In addition, the text includes an obligation not to relax domestic labour or environmental protection laws as a means to attract trade or investment.
At the same time, the European Commission is also presenting the first detailed report of its kind on the latest TTIP negotiating round that took place in October. It summarizes the discussions held in all three areas of the agreement – market access, regulatory issues and rules.
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Courtesy of the European Parliament