elni Review 2014, Issue 2, pp. 39-43. https://doi.org/10.46850/elni.2014.005
The beginning of the negotiations for a trade and investment partnership agreement between the European Union and the United States of America was announced in February 2014 by the US president Barack Obama. Unlike traditional trade agreements the TTIP aims to include a “regulatory cluster” in the form of a regulatory coherence annex that should include procedures to minimize differences in regulation. However, the regulatory coherence chapter, according to the negotiators on both sides, will not impair each parties’ right to regulate. Therefore, diverging regulations will be allowed in order to protect health, safety, consumer, workers and the environment. Finally, the negotiators also state that no changes will be made to existing regulations. It seems apparent that these two objectives – coherence and the right to regulate, – are in stark contrast with each other. On the one hand, there is the goal to avoid and eliminate trade barriers; on the other hand, the high level of protection of EU citizens should not be undermined; in addition, no change in basic regulations is foreseen. This article outlines some difficulties in seeking regulatory coherence chapter whilst at the same time maintaining the right to choose different levels of protections. After discussing the problem of lack of transparency in the negotiations, the article focuses on the implications of regulatory cooperation for health and environmental legislation. In particular this article focuses on the case of the chemicals regulation for which discussions have advanced more in the negotiations thus far and for which there are wide differences in terms of regulations.
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