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What is TTIP and should we be worried about it?

The proposed TTIP or Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is a series of trading negotiations that are being carried out between the USA and the EU. The basic idea is to remove or reduce the trade barriers that exist between the two parties. This could mean changes to stuff like food safety laws, banking regulations and environmental legislation as the two economic giants decide to help big businesses trade more easily. So what is TTIP all about?
    getty - georges gobet

Transcontinental corporations

The biggest fear with these proposals is that European and American buyers will be given less choice as transcontinental firms take over the markets. Most of the negotiations are taking place in secret but what has been gathered from leaked documents and Freedom of Information requests is that the following are under threat.

Food safety

The regulations governing food in the EU will be replaced with those governing food in the US. Unfortunately, US regulations are far less strict. This is probably because they are one nation whereas the EU laws have been written to cover a multitude of different nations and cultural attitudes to food. This is also something that we in the EU write stricter laws on. In America, the use of pesticides is far less restrictive than it is in the EU. Growth hormones in beef are also permitted in the States, while in the EU research that suggests a link to cancer means that they’re not allowed.

Environmental safety

In the EU we have the REACH regulations that are tough on potentially toxic substances. In Europe firms have to provide evidence that a substance is safe. That’s not the case in America.

Banking

This is an area where the US regulations are tighter. In fact in the UK, the City of London is attempting to loosen the US banking regulations in an effort to stimulate the market. The fear with TTIP is that these rules, which were put in place to contain bankers, will be reversed giving banks the sort of power over the financial markets that lead to the worldwide economic crisis.

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