EU negotiator rules out exclusion of chemicals from TTIP
Mr Bercero said that both sides had acknowledged early on that as far as the chemical sector is concerned, regulations in the EU and US are different, so the “aim cannot be harmonisation [or] mutual recognition.” He added that the objective is to identify practical steps by which regulators can cooperate by sharing data, comparing their procedures on risk assessment and by looking into some very technical issues, but "nothing that could in any way undermine the implementation of our respective regimes. This does not mean exclusion.”
Commenting on a proposal on horizontal cooperation presented by the EU (CW 12 February 2015), chief US negotiator Dan Mullaney said the overall goal of the regulatory coherence and transparency agenda is to “ensure as much as possible that future regulations [in] the US and EU don't diverge in ways that are unnecessary.” The US side is examining the proposal, he added. Saying the revised proposal would be made public this week, Mr Bercero commented that the objective is to “facilitate cooperation between regulators in those areas where there is mutual interest to explore how to achieve regulatory compatibility.” From the EU side's perspective, he added, it would be unsatisfactory to exclude cooperation in areas regulated by member countries or states in the US.
Meanwhile, measures to give the US President trade promotion authority (TPA) have passed key committees in the US Senate and House. TPA would require Congress to either approve, or disapprove, any trade deal without changing its terms. Pointing out that President Obama had called for TPA, Mr Mullaney said that having TPA is “an important step” in the TTIP process.
The move to legislate TPA was welcomed by industry groups like the American Chemistry Council (ACC) and the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates (Socma), who said it would help drive US chemicals exports and eliminate costly barriers to chemicals trade.
But NGOs such as the Center for International Environmental Law (Ciel) opposed it on the grounds that trade agreements like TTIP “reflect the wish-lists of industry lobbyists, not the needs of the American people.”
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