TTIP needs strengthening, 'widening,' says EC commissioner
In a speech at the Wroclaw Global Forum on Friday, European Commissioner for Trade Karel De Gucht focused on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, saying that the “bridge” is widening to allow extra lanes for prosperity between economies.
“We will do that in many different ways: removing tariffs and barriers to services trade, making regulations more compatible, expanding public procurement opportunities, protecting investments, and creating a true transatlantic market for energy,” he said.
But he added a cautionary element to his speech in regards to the TTIP.
“However, some of you may know — and here let me also be frank — that many people have doubts about this deal.”
Doubts, he said, such as the possible need to sacrifice core European principles; the abandonment of a commitment to protection for people’s health and safety; the changing of laws regarding genetically modified food; and the weakening of bank regulations.
De Gucht said, however, that “both sides have made very clear that we have no intention of lowering protections."
What we are trying to do in TTIP," he continued, "is to start updating all of these agreements to include stronger safeguards that will help avoid frivolous cases and ensure that we protect our right to regulate, while continuing to encourage job–creating investment.”
He emphasized the need for strength and partnership, stating that, “strengthening, not weakening, those shared values is what this agreement is all about.”
Important steps, he said, include finding ways to make regulations on products like cars and medicines more compatible; uniting on labor rights and how environmental protection can be supported by trade; and establishing that “we are all better off when energy and raw materials are traded along market principles. In fact, given today's foreign policy challenges, removing the legal uncertainty that undermines transatlantic trade in energy would be perhaps the strongest way this deal would support our alliance.”
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