TTIP negotiators contemplate systematic dismantling of environmental standards, Greenpeace

11th round of talks for EU-US trade deal end on Friday in Miami

Press release - October 23, 2015
Brussels – Negotiators at EU-US trade talks ending in Miami later on Friday have discussed a system to weaken environmental standards that stand in the way of corporate interests, said Greenpeace. The talks are taking place against a backdrop of mounting protests against TTIP, with over three million people signing the largest ever EU petition [1] and hundreds of thousands taking to the streets in anti-TTIP marches last week [2].

Berlin demonstration against TTIP trade talks.

While maintaining the veil of secrecy surrounding the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the EU and US are expected to claim progress in “consolidating” the negotiating text for a variety of issues, including so-called regulatory cooperation [3].

Greenpeace trade expert Jürgen Knirsch said: “Once again, little has transpired about the real outcome of this latest round of trade talks. What we know is that both sides are dead set on increasing the privileges of big business. But corporations must also have obligations, not only rights. These obligations protect our environment, our health, and our labour rights. Stripping them away would take Europe back 100 years.”

Under current plans, a joint oversight body would remove barriers to trade by harmonising current and future EU and US regulations. Its primary concern would be to protect corporate interests, with little or no concern for environmental, health or social protection, said Greenpeace.

Another issue likely to have been discussed in Miami is the inclusion of a chapter on sustainable development [4]. The EU is keen for both parties to state their commitment to implement global environmental governance and multilateral agreements, but it is unclear what purpose this would serve, given that the US has not ratified a large number of multilateral environmental agreements, conventions and protocols that the EU is a party to.

While not formally on the agenda, a European Commission proposal to review plans for an investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) is likely to have occupied the minds of negotiators. The EU’s chief negotiator, Ignacio Garcia Bercero, said the proposal would formally be shared with US negotiators before the end of this year.

While replacing private courts with a publicly appointed Investment Court System, the Commission’s proposal would still give foreign investors a privileged justice system to challenge EU standards on the environment, health or social rights, warned Greenpeace. Furthermore, without the reopening of foreign investor privileges under a separate EU-Canada trade agreement (known as CETA), the Commission’s ISDS proposal for TTIP could become irrelevant [5], said Greenpeace.





[4] A proposal was tabled by the EU for discussion with the US in the negotiating round of 19-23 May 2014 and made public on 7 January 2015. A new version of this paper was discussed with US negotiators in Miami this week, but the content is still unknown.



Greenpeace EU press desk: +32 (0)2 274 1911,

Jürgen Knirsch – Greenpeace trade expert: +49 171-8780 816,

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