EU Releases Proposed TTIP Chapter on Development, Labor, and the Environment
The European Commission has published its proposal for a chapter on trade and sustainable development, including labor and the environment, in the ongoing EU-U.S. trade talks.
The proposed chapter on sustainable development in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) follows the new EU trade strategy, Trade for All, which aims at more responsible trade policies both at home and globally.
“Trade is not just about our economic interests, but also about values,” said Cecilia Malmström, the EU trade commissioner. “That’s why we are proposing a very ambitious approach to sustainable development in the EU-US trade talks.”
The purpose of the proposal is to ensure that high standards for labor and the environment are upheld both in the EU and the U.S. and that the two work together to address the challenges of the global economy such as child labor, health and safety at work, and other rights of workers and the protection of environment, among others.
“Child labor, insufficient workers’ rights or irresponsible corporate behavior are global scourges that I want trade policy to help us deal with,” said Malmström. “Working together with the U.S. would make us more efficient in fighting globally for more responsible practices. At the same time we would ensure that our existing high, yet sometimes different, standards in the EU and the U.S. are upheld.”
The proposal affirms the right of governments to regulate labor and environmental protection. The proposal also refers to commitments made as part of the International Labor Organization (ILO), a United Nations agency, and multilateral environmental agreements, to ensure that both sides respect a common set of fundamental labor standards and environmental rules. In addition, the text includes an obligation not to relax domestic labor or environmental protection laws as a means to attract trade or investment.