Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership: Mythbuster

MYTH: TTIP will only benefit the big corporations. 

FACT: TTIP will directly benefit consumers. It will widen the range of products available, giving consumers more choice. It will also reduce trade costs, leading to cheaper goods. The average benefit for a family of four is estimated at around £400 per year. 

TTIP will directly benefit small businesses. They will find it easier to export, a direct consequence of TTIP reducing duplication and red tape, but without compromising safety standards. 

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MYTH: TTIP will let GM foods and hormone beef from the USA flood our supermarket shelves. 

FACT: The EU has no mandate in TTIP to lower our food standards. It will be easier for food producers on either side to export, but only if they conform to each side’s rules on food standards and genetically modified crops. 

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MYTH: TTIP will decrease environmental standards.

FACT: The high environmental standards and targets which we have in place are non-negotiable. This has been made clear repeatedly by both the US and the EU. The EU will also use an independent analysis, which sets out recommendations to minimise the environmental impacts of TTIP, to inform its position. 

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MYTH: TTIP opens the door to privatisation of the NHS

FACT: TTIP will not change the way that the NHS, or other public services, is run. Access to NHS services will continue to be based on patients’ needs, not ability to pay. Local NHS commissioners will remain in charge of deciding who should provide services in the best interests of patients. The European Commission is following our approach, that it must always be for the UK to decide for itself whether or not to open up our public services to competition. 
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MYTH: UK sovereignty will be threatened by a deal on TTIP. Big corporations will be able to use investment protection provisions to overturn UK laws.

FACT: The EU has made it clear that the freedom of national governments to regulate would be explicitly protected. The Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions being discussed cannot overturn laws. Their purpose is to protect our investors from discriminatory treatment by protectionist governments, whilst safeguarding the Government’s freedom to make laws and regulations in the public interest. The UK already has over 90 bilateral investment agreements in place, the majority of which include similar provisions, and has never lost a case. The Commission recognises that there are public concerns about this and launched a public consultation to inform its position. 

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MYTH: The European Commission is doing deals in secret. 

FACT: We need to remember that this is a negotiation, and making our position available publicly will jeopardise our chances of getting the best deal for the EU. The Commission consulted publicly on its negotiating priorities and investment protection, holds regular meetings with the public and published 11 position papers which give detailed information about the negotiations. It is holding one of the most transparent negotiations it has ever done. 

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MYTH: TTIP is being agreed by a European institution which was not democratically elected. 

FACT: The UK Parliament will have an opportunity to scrutinise the final agreement through debates in both Houses. Any eventual deal will have to be agreed by both the EU Council (representing the elected governments of the EU countries) and the European Parliament (whose members are democratically elected). This is the same process by which other trade agreements, such as EU-Korea, were agreed. The Government will also continue to update the UK Parliament on the progress of the negotiations. TTIP is also the subject of a House of Lords enquiry and an All-Party Parliamentary Group.