Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)

 The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership has raised concerns but I believe this agreement does not carry the risks that some have put forward.

 

Underlying the agreement is the opportunity to add £10 billion to our economy every year, which is almost £400 per household, which means more jobs, more choice and reduced prices.

UK governments alone decide how public services, including the NHS are run. TTIP does not change this and does not change UK laws or lower consumer, labour or environmental standards. TTIP is about helping our consumers and our businesses access new markets. Where mutually high standards can be recognised with the US they will be, but where this is not possible US businesses will have to raise their standards to meet ours, not the other way around.

I appreciate there has been strong public interest in the ISDS provision of the agreement but can assure you that such measures do not prevent governments from passing laws or lead to laws being repealed.  The substance of these provisions is being looked at carefully and I assure you the right of the state to legislate in the public interest will be fully preserved.

I am aware people fear that investors could sue the government for losses and win if the government takes a decision in the wider public interest, whether on health, the environment or consumer safety. However, I am pleased this Government has made clear this could never happen. The purpose of ISDS is to protect businesses investing abroad against discrimination and unfair treatment, not to allow companies to undermine public policymaking. Such measures are not new, they already exist in over 90 bilateral investment treaties and there has never been a successful claim brought against the UK.

Transparency is of course important to ensure we get a good deal for the UK and I am glad more key documents relating to negotiations will be made available to MPs. An unprecedented amount of material has also been published by the European Commission and is available online. Parliament has also had a number of opportunities to debate TTIP, will scrutinise the final agreement and ultimately has the final veto power.