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TTIP explained: issue by issue

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a trade agreement that is currently being negotiated by the European Union (EU) and United States. If successfully concluded, TTIP will boost growth to the benefit of citizens and companies, whatever their size, on both sides of the Atlantic.

ARC provides commentary as well as analysis and up-to-date facts and information to encourage a better understanding of the most hotly discussed topics. We address justified concerns and highlight the real benefits that an EU-US trade agreement will bring to citizens and companies alike.

Are you a small business, consumer or a civil society organisation that wishes to understand a specific aspect of TTIP and how it could benefit you? Would you like to know more how TTIP ensure high levels of environmental, health and consumer protection whilst removing unnecessary technical and bureaucratic barriers to trade? Are you interested to know what ISDS really means?


You can find information on the following selection of topics, and many more, on our website.


SMEs are the backbone of the European economy. They number more than 20 million firms that account for over 98% of all EU business. They also add a lot value to society: around 67% of all EU jobs are in SMEs, and around 58% of EU gross added value is created in SME manufacturing and service activities. EU and US negotiators are discussing a specific chapter on SMEs as part of their TTIP negotiations. Small businesses will benefit from TTIP in a number of ways: cutting red tape and simplifying customs bureaucracy, tariff elimination on exports, increased transparency, improved access to public procurement, and enhanced investment protection.

Read more here, or find all our articles on SMEs here.


Investor-State Dispute Settlement

Clear investment protection rules can help attract capital flows to Europe. Although many people are worried about Investor-State Dispute Settlement rules (ISDS), it is an existing and tested tool to implement the law, not one to make or change it. Over the past sixty years EU countries have signed over 1,300 bilateral investment agreements, the vast majority of which contain investor safeguards. ISDS was created to prevent discrimination against foreign investors, and to secure equal treatment under the law. This does not threaten the ability of governments to regulate. Moreover, the EU and the US are undertaking efforts to introduce more transparency into the system.

Read more here, or find all our articles on ISDS here.


Food safety standards

European TTIP negotiators and their US counterparts will build on the principles of existing food safety legislation at the international level. Consumers will continue to enjoy the highest food safety standards. The negotiations do not cover Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs): laws on GMOs remain the responsible of national governments. Neither the EU nor the US are going to allow their food safety standards to be watered down.

Read more here.


Regulatory  cooperation

The EU and US share core values on environmental protection and sustainability. Closer cooperation on regulatory matters is not about lowering these standards, but raising the bar for the rest of the world. The mandate for what a future TTIP agreement should include is clear – it will not lower labour, consumer and environmental standards. The centrepieces of EU environmental regulation, such as the ‘REACH’ Regulation for chemicals, for example, will not be harmonised with the US rules. There is a large difference between the two, so mutual recognition could not work. Instead, efficiency will be improved via better regulatory cooperation to assess chemicals in the future. A better dialogue will mean that unnecessary duplication will be avoided – without compromising on high protection levels.

Read more here and here.


Public services

Public services…remain public. TTIP will not impact governments’ right to decide in which sectors it will provide public services itself, and which sectors it opens for private providers. National authorities will retain full decision-making powers over their public health and education services. The EU will not negotiate away control of these public services, and control over natural resources such as water supply to citizens. The EU does not take any market access commitments related to publicly funded health, education or social services in its trade agreements

Read more here.



The negotiations on TTIP are the most transparent trade talks in history. The Commission has taken new steps to open up the negotiations to the public. It is holding hundreds of meetings with stakeholders, from large and small companies to citizens and civil society organisation. For the first time ever, the Commission has published its negotiating mandate, and an increasing number of other negotiating texts have been made public. MEPs, elected by European citizens, also keep a close eye, as they have been given insight in documents at all stages of the talks.

Read more here.


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