Scottish Parliament's European and External Relations committee today (17th March) released their report into the proposed EU-US trade deal known as Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). They heard evidence from campaign groups, NGOs and unions about the potential implications of the deal for Scotland.

Friends of the Earth Scotland Director, Dr Richard Dixon who gave evidence commented

“We are happy to see some of the public frustrations and very real concerns that were raised reflected in this report. Ideologically driven attempts to undermine social safeguards and environmental regulations make TTIP a dangerous deal for European citizens.

Through the Investor-State Dispute Settlement mechanism (ISDS), TTIP poses a serious threat to Government’s authority to regulate. For example, under TTIP the unconventional gas moratorium could result in the Scottish Government being sued by fracking companies who would argue it threatened their profitability.

Dr Dixon commented:
“TTIP poses particular threats in areas such as fracking and nuclear power where Scotland has adopted a more cautious approach than the UK Government. TTIP would provide the mechanism for companies to weaken rules governing the fracking industry and to challenge bans and moratoria. “

In the EU the ‘Precautionary Principle’ is used when developing regulations. This is the idea that authorities should act to protect people and the environment even where evidence is uncertain. In the USA the precautionary principle is not applied and the burden of proof is reversed – the regulator is required to prove a product is unsafe before regulatory restrictions can be imposed.

Dr Richard Dixon commented “Any attempt to ‘harmonise’ the very different EU and USA systems regarding standards can only lead to a reduction in protection from toxic chemicals in Europe.”

“TTIP is a race to the regulatory bottom which risks rolling back many of the gains we have made in the last 40 years on protecting people and the environment. “

ENDS

Notes to Editors

1. Scottish Parliament European and External Relations Committee Report: The implications of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership for Scotland. http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/CurrentCommittee…

2. Friends of the Earth Scotland Submission to the committee http://www.foe-scotland.org.uk/node/1923

3. Investor State Dispute Settlement explanation http://www.foeeurope.org/isds

4. Friends of the Earth Scotland is:
* Scotland's leading environmental campaigning organisation
* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland
* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 74 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups.
www.foe-scotland.org.uk.