TTIP

Dear Constituent

Thank you for your email re TTIP. I can confirm that I did vote against the inclusion of ISDS during the recent vote. I am not against ISDS in principle; Britain has entered 94 Bilateral Investment Treaties since 1975 with the majority containing ISDS provisions and no ISDS challenges have ever succeeded against the UK. However, I do not believe it is necessary in this instance. ISDS agreements were developed to afford protection and provide access to justice where there is a different quality of legal system and potential for unfair treatment towards foreign investors. In the case of TTIP, there are already established legal systems in both the EU and the US. The report, as adopted, calls for a new system to update and modernise ISDS.

I am not against the TTIP agreement in principle but I do not support free trade at any price, particularly not at the expense of the EU’s comprehensive food safety and environmental standards. I am assured that these are not on the negotiating table.

I voted in favour of this legislative resolution overall, as I am in favour of free trade and market completion.

There is a long way to go, probably a number of years, until a final agreement on TTIP is reached.  The European Parliament, as well as the UK Government, will also have to give final approval to the deal. I will continue to follow the debate with interest.

Kind regards

 

Julie Girling

MEP for the South West of England & Gibraltar

Environment, Public Health & Food Safety

Agriculture and Rural Development

Women’s Rights & Gender Equality

Email: julie.girling@europarl.europa.eu

 

I have received many emails from constituents regarding TTIP.  Although I am not directly involved in negotiations on this file, I can assure you that the Conservatives in the European Parliament are keeping a keen eye on developments in order to ensure that the final deal is in the best interests of the UK.

 

 

Dear Constituent

Thank you for your inquiry regarding the ongoing negotiations of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

Although I am not directly involved in negotiations on this file, the Conservatives in the European Parliament are keeping a keen eye on developments in order to ensure that the final deal is in the best interests of the UK.

There are many reasons why a comprehensive trade deal between the EU and the USA will benefit us. The EU and the US are each other’s main trading partners and already enjoy the largest bilateral trade relationship in the world. Transatlantic trade flows (goods and services trade plus earnings and payments on investment) averaged $4 billion each day through the first three quarters of 2011. In 2008, EU/US combined economies accounted for nearly 60% of global GDP.

However, for all its value and importance, the EU-US trading relationship still suffers from numerous obstacles, preventing it from reaching its full potential to provide growth and jobs.  It has been estimated that by working to break down such obstacles, the deal could bring an extra £10bn to the UK annually, which would give a huge boost to jobs in our economy at a time when we are still suffering from the effects of the economic crisis.  TTIP presents consumers with opportunities to benefit from increased choice and lower prices, and by reducing the duplication of regulation it will benefit small companies trying to sell into transatlantic markets.

It is important to me that there is nothing in this proposed agreement that would weaken environmental regulation, lead to the privatisation of the NHS or allow private companies to overturn the laws made by democratically elected governments. I have been clear that I am in general support for the negotiation of a transatlantic free trade agreement, however any agreement is far from being agreed and indeed many of the chapters of the agreement have yet to be opened for negotiation. I will of course assess the final agreement when it is available, which will not be for some time.

It is unfortunate that the impact assessment document is not particularly helpful in explaining the benefits of TTIP. As with many internal Commission documents it is overly technical and designed to be of use only to other EU officials – rather than being tailored for EU citizens in the interest of transparency.

Last year, the European Commission acknowledged that there was a significant lack of transparency around the negotiations, and announced plans to carry out a further period of public consultation (http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-14-56_en.htm.) The results of consultations can be found here: http://trade.ec.europa.eu/consultations/ , in particular on Investor to State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) and SMEs.

Regarding the specific point of ISDS, it is important to note that the provisions being discussed cannot overturn laws. Rather, the purpose of the ISDS is to reassure investors that if they are treated unfairly by foreign authorities, or have their property expropriated without compensation, that they have a means of seeking redress. These types of clauses are included in many of the EU Member States’ existing bilateral investment treaties, including existing agreements ratified by the UK. In fact, they are a European creation and have been widely used by Member States for a number of years. The UK has 90 ISDS agreements currently in place, and only two have been brought before a tribunal, neither of which were successful.

I did vote against the inclusion of ISDS during the vote back in July 2015. I am not against ISDS in principle and I do understand why it is frequently used in bilateral agreements. However, I do not believe it is necessary in this instance. ISDS agreements were developed to afford protection and provide justice where there is a different quality of legal system and potential for unfair treatment towards foreign investors. In the case of the TTIP, there are already established and robust legal systems in both the EU and the US. I nevertheless voted in favour of this legislation overall, as I am in favour of free trade and market competition. I was also reassured as the report, as adopted, calls for a new system to update and modernise ISDS.

The 11th round of TTIP negotiations took place on 19th-23rd October. The 12th round is scheduled to take place later this month. While MEPs have no direct control over negotiations, the European Parliament, specifically members of the International Trade Committee, will be monitoring the progress of talks to ensure the European Commission keeps its word. The European Parliament, as well as the UK Government, will also have to give final approval to the deal. This agreement is not a “full frontal assault on democracy”, but instead could bring many benefits to UK consumers and businesses.

I hope you find the above information helpful.

Kind regards

 

Julie Girling

MEP for the South West of England & Gibraltar

Environment, Public Health & Food Safety

Agriculture and Rural Development

Women’s Rights & Gender Equality

Email: julie.girling@europarl.europa.eu

Tel: 0032 228 45678

 

 

Link to a letter sent by Trade Commissioner Malmström to UK Trade Minister Lord Livingston regarding public services and TTIP: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nhs-and-ttip-letter-from-eu-trade-commissioner-cecilia-malmstrom

 

Please see the below literature: