Thursday, 24 September 2015

TTIP is gambling with our lives

This nice tidy explainer from the other side of the pond outlines the basics of TTIP. Several sectors in the TTIP could make significant improvements and cut unnecessary red tape. It is estimated that somewhere between 10-20 percent of the cost of a product traversing the Atlantic is attributable to divergent regulations.

"For instance, European and American auto safety requirements could be better harmonized in order to reduce costs for manufacturers and drive down prices to consumers. The U.S. and EU auto safety standards and tests differ in many details but afford similar levels of safety. What this means for manufacturers is that they have to run tests twice in order to get cars approved in both markets. One study estimates that these extra tests end up adding about 25 percent to the cost of American made cars in the EU."

TTIP is all about creating a global single market by way of harmonising automotive regulation etc. That sounds good in theory but a mutual recognition of standards without the proper scrutiny means our own markets can legally be flooded with substandard produce - and we have no jurisdiction in inspecting foreign regulators. Today we learn that not only is this a theoretical fear, but a real likelihood.

The Independent reports today that the motor industry has been accused of withholding a report that reveals US cars are substantially less safe than European vehicles - for fear that the findings would hamper the drive to harmonise safety standards as part of the TTIP deal.

The major study was commissioned by the car industry to show that existing EU and US safety standards were broadly similar. But the research actually established that American models are much less safe when it comes to front-side collisions, a common cause of accidents that often result in serious injuries. The findings were never submitted – or publicly announced – by the industry bodies that funded the study.

It is said that "Because of the sheer size of the EU and U.S. economies the TTIP has the potential to set regulatory standards on a global level. TTIP rules could become world standards which countries wishing to join the partnership in the future would have to adhere to. In this sense it creates an excellent opportunity for a global race to the top." - yet today proves things are likely to go in the opposite direction. While we are members of the EU we have no outright veto in this. Don't you think we ought to? I do.

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