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Expert comment – The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership

25 Apr 2016

This week the 13th round of negotiations of TTIP are taking place in New York with many predicting the controversy surrounding the UK’s trading relationship with the US to continue.

Whilst investment protection remains the key issue of the talks, Dr Gabriel Siles-Brügge from The University of Manchester, argues that a key danger of TTIP is being ignored by much of the campaigning on the issue.

Dr Siles-Brügge, a politics lecturer and expert on TTIP, said: “Much of the controversy surrounding these talks has focused on the proposed investor-to-state dispute settlement mechanism. This has meant that arguably the key aspect of the talks has been neglected by reporting on the issue.

“The biggest issue is with provisions introduced to encourage further conversations between regulators on both sides of the Atlantic and improve the regulatory processes in the EU and the US.

“These provisions on ‘regulatory cooperation’ and ‘good regulatory practices’ are intended to make TTIP a ‘living agreement’, with an impact beyond its ratification. But they risk putting obstacles in the way of legislative and regulatory proposals that aim to protect the environment or public health if these add costs to businesses, not only delaying but also potentially blocking their adoption.

“Whilst the stated intention is to cut red tape by decreasing bureaucracy, increasing transparency and supposedly improving democratic accountability –TTIP’s horizontal ‘living provisions’ could undermine existing legislative processes, the result of which would be lower standards.

“There is still a lingering suspicion that the horizontal provisions of TTIP could be used to put pressure on regulators not to introduce measures that might introduce barriers to transatlantic trade and investment.

Read Dr Siles-Brügge's blog on the Manchester Policy Blogs site which gives further expert analysis of the TTIP talks.

Notes for editors

The University of Manchester, a member of the prestigious Russell Group, is the UK’s largest single-site university with 38,600 students. It has 20 academic schools and hundreds of specialist research groups undertaking pioneering, multi-disciplinary teaching and research of worldwide significance. The University is one of the country’s major research institutions, rated fifth in the UK in terms of ‘research power’ (REF 2014), and has had no fewer than 25 Nobel laureates either work or study there. The University had an annual income of £1 billion in 2014/15. Visit www.manchester.ac.uk

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