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Stewards for environmental protection via trade

The EU and US share core values on environmental protection and sustainability. TTIP is not about watering down these standards, but rather about raising the bar for the rest of the world.

The objective to grow Transatlantic trade will not trump human health and environmental concerns. TTIP will not lead to regulatory chill. The centrepiece of the EU’s chemicals regulation, REACH, will remain in place. Likewise, the EU’s regulatory autonomy to implement and pass laws, such as its fuel or groundwater quality legislation, will remain intact.

There is no intention to harmonise REACH legislation with its US equivalent, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). REACH began ambitiously, and has driven increased consumer confidence in Europe. There is no interest to dismantle it. The focus of TTIP would be on finding mutually acceptable solutions on classification and labelling as discrepancies lead to non-tariff barriers to trade.

A common Transatlantic classification system for chemicals would benefit a Global Harmonization System as it would require regulatory authorities on both sides of the Atlantic to recognise methodologies. In time, authorities in other countries will have to follow. Major efficiency gains would result, and this bottom line is what TTIP negotiations are all about.

There are considerable TTIP gains to be made in the liberalization of tariffs on chemicals due to large intra-company trade in this area.

The sovereign right of the EU and its Member States to regulate in support of environmental and human health goals will be upheld. For instance, it will be up to national governments to allow or ban shale gas extraction and / or production on their territories.

TTIP does not seek to harmonize fundamentally different EU and US chemicals regulation. The two sides’ protection standards are too far apart to attempt mutual recognition.

Substantial efficiency gains could be reaped through improved regulatory cooperation on equivalent elements of the assessment of chemicals. The focus is on creating a better dialogue between regulators to tackle unnecessary duplications in, for example, clinical trials. This would take place without compromising on high levels of protection.

There is no existing, targeted legislation governing nanomaterials in the EU or US. TTIP is an opportunity to build a framework for both sides to cooperate on the development of regulation that will set global standards and meet each other’s needs.

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