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MEP launches discussion document on TTIP US/EU trade negotiations amid public concern

1 December, 2014 - by Matt Carthy MEP

Irish MEP, Matt Carthy today launched a discussion document on the potential consequences for Ireland of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations currently taking place between the US and EU.   Speaking from the European Parliament Information Office in Dublin this morning Matt Carthy said it is important that a comprehensive public debate takes place in relation to the impact TTIP will have on Irish interests.  The Sinn Féin MEP was highly critical of the lack of transparency surrounding the negotiations.

He said, “The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations, currently underway between the EU and the US, represents the most significant free trade agreement to be negotiated in recent times.

“While I acknowledge there are potential benefits from a trade agreement at this level, nevertheless there remain a number of concerns surrounding the negotiations.

“In particular, the lack of transparency in relation to the negotiations remains a critical issue of concern. We only became aware of the mandate for the negotiations through a leaked document, which subsequently was made public as a result of public pressure.

“Elements of the negotiations are of particular concern to Ireland, in particular, the establishment of an Investor State Dispute Settlement Procedure, which operates outside of the rule of law and allows investors to sue member states as a result of potential loss of revenue. It is the mechanism by which tobacco giants are currently suing Australia as a result of that country’s public health measures against smoking.

“There are also potential concerns in relation to key sectors including employment, agriculture and the environment and stakeholders from organisations working in this sector have been invited to the launch in order to engage with the debate on this issue.

“It has become increasingly apparent that there is a clear need for public engagement and debate on the consequences of TTIP for Ireland, particularly as we have lost our veto to block this agreement as a result of the Lisbon treaty.

“While the Government and other MEPs seem content to “wait and see”, I would argue that it is critical that we evaluate the potential consequences of TTIP for Ireland and demand that our Government protect the interests of Ireland in these negotiations.

“I am calling on all interested individuals and groups to read and study this document and to engage in public debate before it is too late.” ENDS

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