Greater TTIP Ambition in Chemicals: Why and How
Paper No. 10 in the CEPS-CTR project ‘TTIP in the Balance’
CEPS Special Report No. 114/July 2015
44 Pages Posted: 20 Jul 2015 Last revised: 29 Jul 2015
Date Written: July 19, 2015
The TTIP negotiation efforts in chemicals are not ambitious enough. The focus in TTIP has been far too much on the differences in the two ‘systems’ rather than on the factual level of health and environmental protection for substances regulated by both the US and the EU. Given OECD accomplishments and the UN GHS, the question is how much more ambitious TTIP in chemicals really is? We find that there is no detailed and systematic knowledge about how the two levels of protection in chemicals compare, although caricatures and stereotypes abound. Partly, this is due to an obsessive focus on a single U.S. federal law, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) whereas US protection depends on many statutes and regulations, as well as voluntary withdrawals (under EPA pressure) and severe common law liability. The paper makes the economic case for firmly addressing the regulatory barriers, discusses the EU proposals, finds that the EP TTIP resolution of July 2015 lacks a rationale (for chemicals), argues that both TSCA and REACH ought to be improved (based on ‘better regulation’), discusses the link with a global regime, advocates that market access should be significantly improved where equivalence of health and environmental objectives is agreed and, finally, proposes to lower the costs for companies selling in both markets by allowing to opt into the other party’s more stringent rules and thereby avoiding duplication while racing-to-the-top. The ‘living agreement’ on chemicals ought to be led by a new TTIP institution establishing authoritatively the level of health and environmental protection on both sides for substances regulated on both sides. These findings will lay the foundation for a highly beneficial lowering of trading costs without in any way affecting the levels of protection. Indeed, this is exactly what TTIP is, or should be, all about.
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