LONDON - The UK government has published a new report addressing fears that the proposed Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP) could pose a serious threat to environmental regulations in the EU – including laws governing potentially toxic chemicals used in the textile industry. Many NGOs have expressed concern that attempts to harmonise environmental regulations between the EU and US as part of the TTIP will lead to a 'race to the bottom' on environmental regulations, with the EU's stronger focus on applying the precautionary principle in setting regulations being superseded by a US-style focus on a 'cost benefit analysis' assessment of proposed new regulations.
The report by the UK government's Environmental Audit Committee argues that, "the EU's stronger focus on applying the precautionary principle in setting regulations should not be weakened as a result of efforts under TTIP to align the regulatory standards of the EU and US." It adds: "Where 'mutual recognition' of environmental standards is used to smooth trade between the EU and US, this must be applied only in cases where the regulations are genuinely already providing 'equivalent' safeguards. Failing to keep to such a course risks an unacceptable 'race to the bottom' in environmental regulations."