News story

Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership (TTIP): regulatory standards

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

How TTIP will look at regulatory standards such as food safety, regulations to protect workers and environmental standards.

The UK government is aiming for an ambitious Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement between the EU and the US. There will be no lowering of regulatory standards as a result of TTIP. This has been made clear by all parties involved in the TTIP negotiations – including President Obama and President Juncker of the European Commission. This is also clearly stated in the negotiating directives given to the European Commission by the EU countries.

TTIP will look at regulations in the EU and US to reduce unnecessary differences, where the level of protection is equally high on both sides. In many areas regulations have similar aims but different methods. TTIP will also aim to get rid of unnecessary duplications which companies have to go through to comply with the different systems in the EU and US.

The aim of this is to lower the cost of trading between the EU and the US. It will be of particular benefit to smaller companies who find it most difficult to meet the different regulatory and testing requirements.

Food safety

EU negotiators have specified that TTIP will not affect the way the EU legislates on food safety. Any food entering the EU must meet EU food safety rules. TTIP will not change that.

Reducing unnecessary differences in regulation could lead to real benefits for UK food and drink producers. For example, complying with some US requirements on top of EU regulation can be expensive for UK companies, without necessarily offering consumers any additional safety. TTIP is an opportunity to get rid of these unnecessary costs.

Labour

TTIP will not prevent the EU and UK from bringing in and upholding labour regulations to protect workers. This includes aspects such as protecting the right to collective bargaining (including forming and joining trade unions, the right to strike), ensuring protection against discrimination in the workplace, and commitments to eliminate forced labour and child labour worldwide. We expect TTIP to call for domestic labour standards to be enforced. One of the overall aims of TTIP is to make sure that trade is encouraged without reducing the enforcement of labour laws or undermining our social and environmental policies.

Environmental standards

TTIP will not hold back action on climate change – the EU’s climate change policies are not up for discussion in the negotiations. It will not affect our obligations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to reduce carbon emissions, nor prevent the EU and US from introducing new environmental and low carbon legislation.

The social and economic impacts of TTIP will also be examined by an independent sustainability impact assessment. This will look at the likely effects of TTIP on sustainable development and propose measures to minimise any potential negative impacts.