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Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)

Posted by on November 2, 2014.

Tracey Brown, managing director of Sense About Science, has this to say about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP):

Europe’s approach [for example, towards new chemicals] is based on a “precautionary principle”. In a nutshell, that means new products and technologies are guilty until proven innocent.

Anti-TTIP campaigners have warned that this principle is under attack, with negotiators preparing to accept the US’s generally laxer rules, forcing Europeans to swallow weaker regulatory protection.

This is not true. There are things to be wary about in TTIP, but its approach to risk regulation isn’t one of them.
TTIP: Europe will still be safe – but more sensible

This appeared in the New Scientist yesterday. What I’d like to know, is how does Tracey Brown come to that conclusion? Is Sense About Science secretly a party to these secret negotiations? I doubt that.

cartoon by Andrzej Krauze; sourced from the New Scientist

cartoon by Andrzej Krauze; sourced from the New Scientist

Luckily, not everyone at the New Scientist is quite so gullible. A leader article dated for the day after tomorrow explains:

But we can’t be sure about that, because the talks are being held behind firmly closed doors. If a deal is struck, it is most likely to be approved summarily, with little opportunity for public feedback.

So critics of TTIP’s economics, as well as those worried about its deference to corporate interests, are free to fear the worst. But whoever is right, the approach is wrong. In democracies, pro and con arguments should be aired, not stifled. Talks as important as these should be in the open.

And that’s the reality of politics today. In the democracies known as the United States and and the European Union, the people are not merely not consulted, they are not even informed.

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