Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP)

Thank you for contacting me recently regarding the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). I will be attending the debate on TTIP on Thursday 9 December to raise specific concerns surrounding the risk to public services as these negotiations progress.

I appreciate there is considerable public concern about the TTIP negotiations and, in particular, about the impact this agreement could have on our public services and in important areas such as consumer safety.

I agree these proposals should receive proper scrutiny at both a UK and EU level and that any final deal must have transparency and accountability at its heart. I was disappointed that the Coalition Government paid such little attention to these concerns and I believe it is important the current Government ensure they are covered in the negotiating process.

I support the principles behind the negotiations on TTIP and I believe there are ways the agreement could bring significant benefits to Britain. It is crucial, however, that the benefits of TTIP filter down to employees, small businesses and consumers, that the deal is open and accountable and that it does not water down current labour, consumer, environmental and food safety standards.

My enduring concern regarding these negotiations concerns our National Health Service and key public services. Labour MEPs have made a strong case in the European Parliament to exclude public services - including our NHS - from TTIP negotiations and to ensure workers' rights, environmental standards and food safety standards are protected. I am not opposed to negotiations that would help secure improved standards of trade between states, but I am opposed to an arrangement that would degrade our public services and allow a race to the bottom for workers’ pay and rights.

I also appreciate there has been particular concern about the potential impact of TTIP on consumer safety standards following recent allegations that the car industry withheld a report suggesting safety standards in some US cars are lower than in the EU. I recognise how important these concerns are and I believe we should not be prepared to accept any deal that does not protect consumer safety standards.

Labour are taking a strong stance on this important issue, and I warmly welcome Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition’s pledge:

“TTIP must not restrict the scope for decisions by any level of government, public authority or NHS organisation relating to public healthcare [and] must not give US investors new rights that they could use to sue any level of government, public authority or NHS organisation because of policies relating to healthcare.”

I hope that the Government now listen and respond to these concerns. I can assure you that I will follow this issue very closely and press the Government to ensure that TTIP delivers the jobs, growth and fairer deal for consumers we all want to see.

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Catherine West MP

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