“BEUC cautions against TTIP that would seek to align EU and US chemicals management frameworks”

Cecilia Malmstrom EU Commissioner Trade

Cecilia Malmstrom, EU Commissioner responsible for Trade (European Union, 2016/ Source: EC-Aduiovisual Service/ Photo: Adam Berry)

As it happened several times in the past, the closer a TTIP negotiation round gets, the bigger the debate over the main questions intensifies. With the next round of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership talks due to take place this month in Brussels, this time was the turn of the European Consumer Organisation, BEUC, to raise concerns over the mammoth EU-US treaty.

The Brussels-based umbrella consumer group released a position paper on the proposed TTIP agreement last week where it urges the European Commission not to validate the pact with the US as it would allegedly increase consumer exposure to toxic chemicals. According to BEUC the EU’s chemical risks control system, which is by definition the world’s most ambitious one, could be potentially weakened by “the nature and scope of the transatlantic trade deal” itself.

Different systems

Indeed BEUC sees the many differences between the European and the American regulatory systems on chemical products, with the risk for the EU system to lose its high standards if merged with the American one, as the core issue of the discussion. The problem is that, according to BEUC, the new regulation was “a reaction” to three decades of “negative experience in the United States under the Toxic Substances Control Act”, the TSCA, which does not require chemical suppliers to provide any data on the hazards of their products.

The “REACH” shelter

As widely believed, the source of the risks for the consumers can be found in the lack of toxicity and exposure information on many chemical substances in commercial use. Against this background, the EU in 2006 adopted a legislation setting up a new system for the registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals, the REACH. As also explained by BEUC in its paper, one of the core objectives of the REACH Regulation is thus to create pressure on companies to develop better information on their chemicals and guarantee safety for the consumers.

“REACH adopts several techniques that reverse the approach to chemicals management taken under TSCA, the most important of which are prescribing precaution in the face of scientific uncertainty and shifting the burden of proof from regulators to industry”, BEUC reported. In a few words, according to BEUC, the American system has too many “black holes” in its body, and so would ultimately allow too much space for chemical industries to manoeuvre. Therefore, BEUC’s position is quite clear: “Given the dismal record of toxic substance control in the United States, BEUC cautions against a transatlantic free-trade agreement that would seek to align EU and US chemicals management frameworks”, BEUC urged in its document.

BEUC’s requirements

Overall, BEUC’s position on TTIP and the way the proposed EU-US trade agreement would regulate chemicals and toxic products is quite clear. “We see a risk that current TTIP proposals would delay or thwart progress on reducing consumer exposure to toxic chemicals”, BEUC explained and so urged the negotiating parties to “reconsider their approach to the chemicals sector”. According to BEUC, the negotiating parties have so far “failed” to deliver “a bold, ambitious vision for transatlantic cooperation on chemicals that would bring real benefits to consumers and the environment”.

The European Consumer Organisation basically is now asking European negotiators and authorities to conclude an agreement which keeps the consumer always informed about the presence of harmful chemicals in products and that encourages management of chemicals based on hazard. The point is that BEUC is determined and firm on the position of having chemicals excluded from the TTIP regulatory cooperation chapters “should the negotiating parties fail to reconsider their approach”.

Contrasts with the industry’s view

BEUC’s position is openly in contrast with what other organisations and associations believe, like the European Chemical Industry Council for example. What CEFIC (From its former French name Conseil Européen des Fédérations de l’Industrie Chimique) says, as the main European trade association for the chemical industry, is that TTIP is a “remarkable opportunity” for both the European and American economic systems. CEFIC’s official position on the transatlantic trade agreement, as explained on its website, is that The European chemical industry supports this ambitious partnership as the United States remain the European Union’s biggest chemical trading partner.

“Maintain highest standards”

CEFIC also says that “proposals” to promote efficiencies “within and between the current legislations” and to reduce costs have been made with American Chemistry Council. “They [the proposals] aim to promote alignment, primarily by ensuring a common scientific basis for decision-making, without changing regulation”, says CEFIC on its website. Moreover, on its official position paper on TTIP, CEFIC asks EU policy makers to “maintain the highest standards of chemical safety in the EU”, where “an enhanced EU-US co-operation on agreeing classifications for chemicals could become a good basis for a global list while respecting each other procedures”. The Sting’s readers can find CEFIC position paper here.

Next TTIP round

The whole chemical system regulation issue is surely destined to have a big impact on the next round of talks, as on the whole negotiation process. In the official report of last negotiations round, published by the EU, it has already been said that chemicals provision in TTIP, which basically were not discussed in the 11th round, will have a prominent position during next round.

The 12th round of TTIP talks is due to to take place in the second half of February, although dates haven’t been announced yet.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Featured Stings

How storytelling can be a force for social change

An Easter Special: Social protection of migrants in Europe as seen through the eyes of European youth

G20 LIVE: G20 Leaders’ Communiqué Antalya Summit, 15-16 November 2015

On Human Rights Day European Youth Forum calls for end to discrimination of young people

The Banking Union may lead to a Germanic Europe

We need a new Operating System for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Inflation not a problem for Europe

The US and EU decisively oppose Erdogan’s plans for Turkey and beyond

FROM THE FIELD: Weaving profits in Azerbaijan

Vote at 16 in Malta: next stop Europe

ILO welcomes new UNDP report that places decent work at the heart of sustainable development

Responsible Artificial Intelligence

Eurozone officials play with people’s deposits and minds

How can entrepreneurship tackle the migration crisis in the EU?

EU Summit/Migration: Parliament calls for joint solutions based on solidarity

MARKUP initiative to boost market access to Europe for East African SMEs

Post-Brexit muddled times: the resignation of UK’s top ambassador and Theresa May’s vague plans

May a parody constitute a copyright infringement? European Court of Justice to give the answer

How dearly will Germany pay for the Volkswagen emissions rigging scandal

Bugged Europe accepts US demands and blocks Morales plane

Eurostat overturns Commission’s assessment of the economy

Regional competitiveness and growth: a Gordian knot for Europe

Indoor air pollution is deadly. Here’s an unconventional solution

UN Human Rights Council resolution on youth and human rights: a step forward for youth rights

EU Budget: A Reform Support Programme and an Investment Stabilisation Function to strengthen Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union

A Sting Exclusive: the EU referendum is about fighting for an outward-looking Britain

Forget about growth without a level playing field for all SMEs

OECD: Mind the financial gap that lies ahead

10 Downing street: Another desperate attempt to unite Britain on Brexit

Varna (Bulgaria) awarded European Youth Capital 2017

Do we have to choose between creating jobs and protecting the climate?

Financial Transaction Tax: More money for future bank bailouts?

The South China Sea Arbitration: Illegal, Illegitimate and Invalid

168 hours left for MEPs – ECOFIN Council to deliver a Banking Union

EDRi @ European Business Summit 2014: Digital Citizenship in Brussels – the case of Net Neutrality

Eurozone: Retail sales betray economic frailty

Who can compel Wallonia to unlock CETA, the EU-Canada free trade pack?

EU budget agreement rejected by the European Parliament

This is how people in Europe are helping lead the energy charge

We need to talk about how we define responsibility online – and how we enforce it

IMF – World Bank meetings: US – Germany clash instituted, anti-globalization prospects visualized

Brussels terrorist attacks: Schengen in danger once again while leaders gather Europe’s multiple broken pieces

A Sting Exclusive: “On the road to Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement”, by Ambassador Katakami of the Japanese Mission to the European Union

EU Migrant Crisis: Italian Coast Guard Headquarters and Italian Navy to give host national opening addresses at Border Security 2016 in Rome

New book honours UN women who made HERstory

A Sting Exclusive: “Without climate, forget about peace!”, Swedish MEP Bodil Valero cautions from Brussels

China-EU Special Report: Chinese Premier Li Keqiang endorses China’s big investment on Juncker’s plan at 10th China-EU Business Summit

COP21 Breaking News_12 December: The New Draft Agreement!

London to say hello or goodbye to Brussels this week

No tears for Cyprus in Brussels and Moscow

This solar-powered car lets you drive for free

Why and how Germany had it again its own way in Cyprus

What the US and the world can expect from the 8 November election?

Counting unemployment in the EU: The real rate comes to anything between 16.1% and 20.6%

Here are five things to know about the future of being human

Reception conditions for asylum-seekers agreed between MEPs and Council

Eurozone’s sovereign debt not a problem anymore?

5 surprising ways digital technology is changing childhood

Achieving targets on energy helps meet other Global Goals, UN forum told

A week to decide if the EU is to have a Banking Union

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s