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Concerns regarding TTIP raised at European Plenary Session

25 February, 2015 - by Matt Carthy MEP

Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West Constituency Matt Carthy, at the European Plenary session in Brussels this evening, highlighted the need to protect food safety and agriculture as the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership(TTIP) talks continue.

Carthy said:

“TTIP could develop into the biggest bilateral free trade agreement in history.  Citizens across Europe have begun to view the process with increasing concern and have begun to question the integrity of the Commission.

“The negotiation process, in my view, is wholly premature. The European position entering negotiations should have been open to debate and discussion for those elected to represent the citizens of Europe. Instead, the Commission has pursued its mandate in secret until very recently. 

“The proposed inclusion of an ISDS mechanism, which would provide to corporations the power to threaten elected governments, ignore established legal systems and exercise influence on domestic legislation is meeting with unparalleled opposition.

“Convergence is certainly necessary in some sectors – however, the Commission must recognise the anxiety felt by citizens regarding public procurement in the health and education sectors. They must also heed the frequent calls to leave out certain areas of agriculture. These sectors must be excluded and standards upheld.  

“Many farmers cannot face further cuts in price to their produce. Opening our markets and allowing products produced at a lower cost and standard are placing our farmers in a position of great disadvantage. Our farm to fork policy should be revered and replicated across the globe; instead, TTIP threatens to pit farmers against each other causing price wars and as such a race to the bottom in food standards.

“While the commission has made claims that standards will not be reduced I have yet to see those claims substantiated in tangible proposals or measures. While growth is always welcomed I will not support an agreement with limited gains at the cost of our most prized standards and protections.”

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