Greenpeace calls for suspension of negotiations of the Free Trade and Investment Agreement (TTIP) between the US and the EU

Greenpeace calls for suspension of negotiations of the Free Trade and Investment Agreement (TTIP) between the US and the EU

03/05/2016 source “DN”

Greenpeace revealed over two hundred confidential documents relating to negotiations between the United States and the European Union on the Free Trade Agreement and Investment (TTIP). According to the environmental organization, 248 pages refer to the draft of the free trade agreement and “confirm threats to public health, environment and climate”.

The Free Trade and Investment Agreement is being discussed between the United States and the European Union for months, but only small parts have been made public. The documents of Greenpeace now appear to expose the pressure that the US is putting on the EU in various areas of negotiation, and the existence of large differences in divisive issues that can prevent the agreement to be ever closed.

Reuters agency points out, for example, that these documents show that the United States threaten to hamper the export of European cars to the USA if Europe does not undertake to import more USA agricultural products, an issue that raises great debate because production food in the USA is subject to different legislation, often less rigid in relation to food safety and public health. The Guardian writes that the vast differences in perspective revealed by confidential documents, to which had also access, indicate that the requirements of the United States can prevent the agreement is finalized. For example, these documents show that the negotiations reached an impasse because of the inflexibility of both sides regarding cosmetics, which in the US are still tested on animals, fact that it is totally prohibited in the European Union.

The documents relate to matters including agriculture, trade in industrial and electronic communications (including Internet services); they include the lengthy annexes on matters of acquisitions to be made by the respective government entities in the European Union and the United States; proposals from Washington on anti-corruption measures; customs facilities in trade and review of fees.

Greenpeace warns that these documents show that the Commissioners participating in the negotiations behind closed doors often do not even mention the European perspective, calling for the TTIP documents to be published in full. “We’re trying to warn people and call on the European Union to suspend the negotiations and to initiate the discussion. We request access to all documents, because we only have a part of them. We need a full opening because people have the right to know what is being negotiated”, said today to Lusa agency Faiza Oulahasen, spokesman for Greenpeace Netherlands.

 “The documents show us the truth, contrary to what the European Union is disclosing and what is totally new corresponds to US positions. It is shocking to hear the Commissioner Malmstrom (Trade), as well as ministers from several countries making false promises”, stressed the spokesman for the non-governmental organization on the ongoing negotiations. Oulahasen, citing the confidential documents now made public, relates in particular to environmental protection policies, health, food security, warning that the positions of the European Union or are not mentioned at the negotiating table or “there are really” proposals that contradict what is already established in European countries.

“United States is not allowed to sell in the European Union certain products that have not been tested and proven to be safe. In Europe, we have a list of 400 toxic products that are banned, but if the US proposals are adopted we may come to have in our shops pesticides, antibiotics or chemicals that so far are prohibited”.

Confidential documents released by Greenpeace refers to the 12th round of negotiations on the Free Trade Agreement and Investment Liners (TTIP), which took place in Brussels between 22 and 26 February 2016, where were  discussed the three pillars of the agreement: market access, bases for the regulation and rules. Following the Brussels meeting, the negotiations took place last week in New York, where representatives of the United States and the European Union remained discussing the topics covered in Belgium.

“None of the chapters (…) makes reference to the general exemption rule included in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade of the World Trade Organization, which allows countries to regulate trade to protect the life and health of humans , animals and plants” or “for the conservation of natural resources”, said last Sunday Greenpeace Netherlands.

For the organization, the omission of this rule “suggests that both parties are creating a system that puts profits ahead of life and health of humans, animals and plants”.