CEFIC Lends Support to “Ambitious” TTIP Timetable
CEFIC, the European Chemistry Council, is adding its voice to a coalition of EU-based businesses to support the controversial Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP). The treaty being negotiated for three years by the EU and the US has come under attack recently from politicians in Germany and France. German economics minister, Sigmar Gabriel, last week stirred up troubled waters on both sides of the Atlantic again with fresh assertions that the long negotiated trade deal is dead, and France’s state secretary for foreign trade, Matthias Fekl, made ripples calling for the French government to end the talks.
CEFIC denies “allegations from anti-TTIP stakeholders that an ambitious transatlantic trade agreement would in any way undermine transparency, health or safety” Regardless of whether TTIP is concluded before the end of the Obama administration,” the industry association said, “negotiations can and should continue for an ambitious outcome.”
“When Cefic answered the Commission’s public consultation on TTIP, we insisted that chemicals management legislation on both sides should remain unchanged,” said René van Sloten, CEFIC’s executive director for industrial policy.
“Harmonization or mutual recognition are out of the question” van Sloten said, “because the two chemical management systems in the USA and the EU are too different. What we saw instead were opportunities to cut red tape for companies and avoid duplication, open the way to global standards for classification and labelling and help regulators on both sides to work better together.”
Not only will TTIP promote greater choice for consumers, answering citizens’ demand for ever higher standards, it can do so while respecting the different approaches on both sides, the director said. “Claiming that TTIP would lower EU standards of chemical protection is a myth.”
CEFIC said its member firms and other business stakeholders see many efficiency gains that could boost the potential of these trade relations, especially given that the EU faces growth challenges with an aging population and increasing competition from Asia. It said chemical producers believe TTIP “would be particularly beneficial” because 90% of EU and US companies affected are small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The agreement would give them greater access to new markets, which will be key for the EU to continue as a main player on the world stage,” the organization said.
The EU and the US currently make up around 40% of global economic output and 60% of global GDP, worth more than €700 billion in goods and services traded annually, along with more than 15 million jobs, CEFIC notes. Chemicals are one of the top of all traded commodities.