Consumer Groups: US-EU Trade Pact Will Weaken Vital Regs

A coalition of U.S. consumer groups representing a wide range of interests -- from environmentalists to Internet activists -- recently raised concern over a burgeoning U.S.-European Union free trade agreement that it would undermine existing environmental, health, safety and Internet privacy regulations, among others.


With negotiations on the horizon, the United States Trade Representative’s office fielded a wide range of input in a series of hearings over two days to guide U.S. action on the so-called Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

Tariffs are already pretty low between the U.S. and European Union so much of the haggling during the trade talks is likely to surround efforts to minimize the effects of regulation and other non-tariff obstacles that stand in the way of freer trade. That has caused more than a little heartburn among consumer groups fearful that such a trade deal would serve to compromise the democratic process.

Said Public Citizen’s Ben Bechy, according to Reuters: "Trying to eliminate a big swath of regulatory differences via a trade deal would have a democratic cost because you're taking away a power from the electorate.”

A laundry list of consumer activists followed to reinforce Bechy‘s concerns, including Henry Jasny of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety who worried that TTIP would undermine auto safety standards.

"In light of global concern about rising motor vehicle crashes and fatalities, placing any downward pressure on vehicle safety standards through bilateral trade agreements is inappropriate," Jasny told USTA, Reuters reported.

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