EU assessment of expected impact of TTIP on EU law in the areas of the environment and food safety

B. Ilge , Both ENDS

In October 2013 the Policy Department of the EU parliament made an analysis of the potential implications of TTIP for the existing EU law in the areas of the environment and food safety. They identified four key issues were TTIPnegotiations might lead to changes in the current EU laws and regulations: - Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) have already been the topic of one WTO dispute between the US and the EU. Whereas the EU employs the precautionary principle and a thorough risk assessment process in determining which GMOs are allowed on the market, regulators in the US assume that GMOs are “substantially equivalent” to their non-GMO counterparts and allow them on the market without a distinct regulatory regime. - Chemical regulations differ significantly between the US and the EU. While the EU’s REACH framework requires all chemicals on the European market to be registered with the European Chemicals Agency, including the submission of safety data, US legislation only requires the submission of safety data in very specific circumstances and allows chemicals that were on the market prior to 1976 to remain on the market without any testing or registration requirement whatsoever. It is however possible that the TTIP will be an impetus for American legislators to strengthen their chemical regulation regime to align it better with REACH, an issue which has been pushed within Congress by members of both major parties since at least 2005. - Poultry pathogen reduction treatments (PRTs), chemicals used to sanitize poultry intended for human consumption, are a controversial topic in trade between the EU and the US and have already been the source of bilateral and WTO dispute resolution processes. While both parties possess comprehensive regulations overseeing the production and processing of poultry, since 1997 the EU has held that only water may be used to wash poultry carcasses for sale on the European market, whereas the US allows its processers to use a number of different PRTs – including chlorine dioxide. The EU has upheld its standards in the interest of food safety, consumer confidence, and industry competitiveness. Meanwhile, these standards have resulted in a loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in lost US poultry exports, making them of likely interest to US negotiators. - Aviation emissions are the source of an on-going dispute between the US and the EU, regarding the EU’s approach to require international air travel originating or terminating in the EU to comply with the EU’s emissions trading system (ETS) requirements. The US has no equivalent programme to regulate aviation emissions, even though this sector is among the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gasses. The EU has recently offered a compromise solution. The more important goal is the completion of a global, market-based instrument by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) by 2016.

The full document can be found here: http://bit.ly/1rIq6Ex

Other known potential problematic issues are:
- European Commission’s decision to partially ban the use of certain neonicotinoids used as seed treatments due to harmful effects on bee health1 - EU regulation of endocrine disruptors within EU Regulation 1107/2009 for Plant Protection Products (pesticides)2 - EU ban on beef treated with certain growth hormone3 - Certain Measures (taken by the Netherlands and Belgium) prohibiting the Importation and Marketing of Seal Products4. - EU animal welfare standards5 - EU regulation on Nanotechnology and nanomaterials6

1

see e.g. US agrochemical industry lobby letter on TTIP to USTR 10 may 2013 see e.g. US agrochemical industry letters on TTIP to USTR 10/5/2013 and 13/11/2013

2

see related WTO dispute and TTIP lobby letter by U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) from May 10, 2013 to United States Trade Representative. Available at: http://www.scribd.com/doc/220944368/TTIP-Lobby-letter-of-U-S-Meat-ExportFederation
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see related ongoing WTO dispute

requirement under the Lisbon treaty on animal welfare have no match under US law, see e.g. draft EU laws on animal cloning and on novel food see e.g. Wikileaks cable SUBJECT: NO SMALL PROGRESS: UPDATE ON NANOTECH REGULATION IN THE EU, 2009 December 23, https://www.wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/09BRUSSELS1720_a.html and TTIP lobby letter by American Chemistry Council from May 10, 2013 to United States Trade Representative see http://1.usa.gov/1jd8spZ
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