Europe’s Regulations at Risk: The Environmental Costs of the TTIP
The European Union and the United States are negotiating a proposed trade liberalization treaty, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Supporters of the treaty suggest that it will bring big economic gains to both Europe and America. The projected benefits of TTIP are based almost entirely on removal of bureaucratic and regulatory obstacles to trade by harmonizing standards in the EU and the US. In such a process, it will be hard to avoid downward harmonization, adopting the weaker of European or American standards.
A report by Frank Ackerman expands on attempts to estimate the overall value of the benefits of European regulations by focusing on regulations and regulatory benefits that might be at risk under TTIP. The report finds that the total value of European regulations is far greater than the estimated value of TTIP. The author explains the value of these regulations related to chemicals policy, climate and energy regulations, food and agriculture and more.
Overall, he determines that, focusing on income and employment impacts rather than the broader range of regulatory benefits, TTIP is only a bargain for Europe under specific, debatable assumptions. Under different assumptions, the EU would be worse off with TTIP, even by the narrowest economic criteria. Requiring regulatory harmonization would also put many of the benefits of European regulations at risk.