Storm brewing in US states as they finally realize TTIP trade pact's "standstill" signs away their rights and attempts to irreversibly "freeze" future environment, chemical, food safety, and fracking laws, creating a potential minefield for the nation.
This could be a very important development. The links below give more information.. It should be noted that the US media has for at least the last 20 years, almost completely avoided covering these horrible trade deals in any more than the most superficial manner possible. So, although this standstill/investor-state problem with the FTAs is extremely important to dozens of areas (healthcare, where it blocks needed changes is a big one) the US media leaves Americans in the dark, perhaps intentionally.
The quotes below are from two articles, "Leaked: US And EU Chemical Lobbies Fighting To “Freeze” Industry Regulation" by Carey L Biron, in Mint Press News and US states demand more say in TTIP negotiations by Dinesh Kumar and Martin Zook in Chemical Watch (by way of bilaterals.org) and The links provide some context and additional information.
"This raises huge questions for the democratic process, and is a sensitive issue for legislators in both the U.S. and EU in terms of how much international influence they’re willing to tolerate,” Tuncak said. “This document suggests tremendous influence in how future legislation would be crafted.”
Last week, CIEL released an analysis, along with European NGO ClientEarth, of the proposals included in the leaked ACC-CEFIC document. That report notes that the chemical industry could be the “second biggest beneficiary of ‘full liberalization’ through TTIP.”
Indeed, the United Nations estimates that the trans-Atlantic use and production of chemicals may increase by 20 percent by the end of the decade, even if TTIP doesn’t pass.
"According to European analysis, nearly two-thirds of those chemicals are considered toxic."
(See links below on endocrine disruptors (EDCs) and obesogens, a pressing regulatory issue)
"Another issue that could affect states is the potential inclusion of provisions to have investor-state dispute settlements carried out by tribunals, rather than US courts, she says. “It is critically important that state authority be recognised in any process and that the US court system be utilised rather than a tribunal process for decision-making.” The dispute resolution process through tribunals should be outside the scope of TTIP, she says. “State laws need to be respected”...
The United States Trade Representative’s (USTR) office should have a “more collaborative process with states,” Ms Lyons says. When talking about “standards for chemical regulations… it seems to me that with states engaged in the conversation, we could reach some pretty important decisions,” she says, pointing out that several states regulate toxic chemicals in consumer products, and adding that negotiations about chemical regulations “must be transparent and inclusive to protect future generations”.
Saying that TTIP negotiations have a “very blind process,” Mr Lyons says states are having a hard time because “we don’t know what is being negotiated. The only way we learn about what is being negotiated is if there is a leak or if the USTR asks for input on specific issues.” States are used to a very transparent, democratic process, she says, urging the USTR to “reach out” to states in a “more robust fashion.” Members of Congress and senators are also being lobbied to ensure state rights in any US-EU trade pact, she says.
(For some info on why this is the case, please see the story here which is linked below.)
"The leaked position paper on regulatory cooperation “clearly implicates the states and mentions explicitly that the states would be subject to regulatory cooperation provisions,” says Baskut Tuncak, attorney at the Center for International Environmental Law (Ciel). Those provisions would require trade impact analyses and ensuring that regulatory measures are the least trade restrictive options. “These sort of analyses would be very, very onerous for the federal government, and for states it would make it virtually impossible for them to actually exercise their right to regulate.”
There is also the potential for investor-state dispute settlement provisions where foreign investors, in the past, have sued states “demanding compensation for public interest measures that decrease their expected profits,” Mr Tuncack says. Such lawsuits are not conducted in US courts, but by foreign arbitration tribunals. Such actions not only cause the taxpayers to compensate these companies, but, he says, are also used as a “tool to chill the development of laws by threatening these sorts of investor-state settlement lawsuit.”
- US states demand more say in TTIP negotiations: Retaining rights to regulate chemicals a concern
Leaked: US And EU Chemical Lobbies Fighting To "Freeze" Industry Regulation
- "In the US, there is a reading room arrangement where members of the US Congress (no staff permitted) have to leave empty-handed." (Lack of Transparency Deliberate)
- A Toxic Partnership report published by ClientEarth and CIEL
- Letter to the TTIP negotiators signed by 178 groups
- EHP – Endocrine Disruptors
- Obesogens: An Environmental Link to Obesity
- No green jobs for you! Secret EU-US trade agreement threatens Minnesota’s solar rebate and other local green job programs
- Secret trade agenda threatens shift toward sustainable food system
- 10 reasons TTIP is bad for good food and farming
- Sierra Club Analysis of EU Energy Proposal TTIP (PDF)