EU Commission places sustainable development on TTIP agenda

The EU has published proposals to make sustainable development a core element of TTIP. 

By David Yip

06 Nov 2015

The European Commission has published proposals for the sustainability standards that it wants to see included in the transatlantic trade and investment partnership (TTIP) agreement.

The Commission describes these as, "the most ambitious sustainable development, labour and environment provisions in TTIP."

European trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström, said, "trade is not just about economic interests, but also values, because what we are releasing today is the EU proposal for protecting trade and sustainable development."


"It sets out our approach on how an advanced modern trade agreement can address difficult but important issues such as dangerous working conditions, cross border shipments of chemicals and waste and protection of endangered species."

"It allows us to reap the economic benefits of trade but also taking responsibility for their broader impact."

She said the published proposals will ensure that both the EU and US, "uphold the highest standards of labour and environment protection" with both sides regulating in the public interest". In addition, it will "rule out the race to the bottom" committing both sides to comprehensive international standards of labour rights and environmental protection.

The proposals will also address global issues including illegal logging and fishing, trade in endangered wildlife, the transport of chemicals and waste, freedom of association, collective bargaining, forced labour, child labour and non-discrimination in the workplace.

However, she stressed that this is still only a proposal and that  “when we have established the core substance we will go on to discuss implementation and enforcement”

In addition to the proposal, the EC has also published a report on negotiations with to the US to date. This summarises discussions over all areas of the agreement, including market access, regulatory issues and rules.

Writing in her blog, Commissioner Malmström said, "today, trade agreements are not only about increased exports and imports. They also have to live up to our global responsibilities."

"TTIP is a chance to enshrine joint and ambitious commitments to sustainable development which could benefit not only the people of the EU and the US, but also many others around the globe."


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