11myths about TTIP

1. A threat to democracy?

EU negotiations with the US on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) are being carried out based on a mandate from the democratically elected leaders of the EU member states. Once negotiations are completed, all documentation will be published. The final agreement must be approved by all EU member states and the European Parliament.

2. A threat to Sweden’s ability to legislate to protect life, health and the environment?

A treaty will not restrict a country’s right to pass legislation in these areas. Ultimately, the reason for adopting so called Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) regulations is to give companies which have had their property seized without compensation the right to demand it. No country has ever declined to pass legislation for fear of that. The notion that companies would be able to sue a state for their own unprofitability is incorrect. The recently negotiated deal between the EU and Canada includes clear exceptions from tort liability for legislation relating to health, safety and the environment.

3. A threat to public service?

It is up to EU member states to decide whether or not they want to subcontract out the provision of public services such as healthcare, education, infrastructure and utilities to private providers. Several EU member states have already opted to allow private companies to provide such services, while others have chosen not to. TTIP will not change this.

4. A threat to food safety?

TTIP will not mean that foodstuffs currently banned from the EU market will suddenly be permitted. The European Commission has consistently emphasised that products like hormonetreated meat, chlorine-washed chicken and new genetically modified foods will not be permitted on the EU market – the European Commission’s negotiating mandate prohibits such a result. At the same time, the US will not permit various European food products (such as certain cheeses) to be sold on the American market, since they do not meet US hygiene standards.

5. A threat to the environment?

TTIP will not compromise EU environmental standards. The European Commission’s negotiating mandate prohibits such a result. On the other hand, TTIP will enable regulatory agencies to work together to eliminate unnecessary and repetitive permitting processes and unnecessary product standards requirements when we already have the same level of environmental protection on both sides of the Atlantic. This will result in more appropriate and effective regulation, which in practice means better protection for consumers and employees.

6. A threat to climate?

TTIP is expected to result in a marginal increase in CO2 emissions as a result of increased production, transports and consumption. However, this increase in emissions will probably be counterbalanced by more efficient production and distribution, which will reduce the environmental impact of the agreement.

7. A threat to workers’ rights?

TTIP will not undermine the rights of employees in either the EU or the US. Instead, it will spur creation of new jobs in both the EU and the US, and ensure that we do not continue losing jobs to Asia. TTIP is expected to create 1.3 million new jobs in the EU and 1.1 million in the US.

8. A threat to personal integrity?

In the EU, TTIP will not compromise such fundamental rights as freedom of speech and freedom of information, and it will not hinder the effectiveness of any EU regulations relating to data security and data protection. Data transfer, storage and processing are indispensable to 21st century economic activity. To assure the confidence of users, it is absolutely essential for the regulations applicable to cross-border flows of data to be in compliance with the data security standards and regulatory frameworks applicable in the country of residence of the individual whom the data concerns.

9. A threat to financial control?

TTIP will not reduce the level of regulation of the financial sector. Instead, increased cooperation between financial regulatory agencies on both sides of the Atlantic will facilitate faster, more consistent implementation of financial reforms in line with the approach agreed on by the G-20. The latest financial crisis demonstrated how important it is for the world’s leading economies to have a far-reaching, coordinated approach to regulation of financial services. This is in the interests of both consumers and taxpayers, and will not lead to deregulation of financial markets but rather to a better coordinated regulatory structure.

10. A secret agreement?

The EU member states, European Parliament and other interested parties receive regular reports on the negotiations from the European Commission. The Commission has also appointed an advisory group of consumer representatives and representatives of the environmental movement, business community and labour movement to assist the negotiators and provide input to the negotiating process. EU documents affecting various industries (e.g. the chemical, cosmetic and auto industries) have been published by the European Commission. Public hearings have been held both before and during the negotiations, including hearings on an approach to resolving conflicts between investors and states. As in any negotiation, the details of the negotiating strategy are confidential to ensure the negotiators’ ability to achieve the best possible results.

11. A dangerous example for the rest of the world?

The purpose of TTIP is not to lower standards or security levels, nor to shut out other trading partners from the transatlantic market. On the contrary, TTIP will provide effective, modern standards and achieve the highest possible level of protection for consumers, employees and the environment. More homogenous standards will make it easier for companies, especially in developing countries, to sell on the transatlantic market.