The debate about a possible future Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership continues, with a lot of attention focusing on an upcoming parliamentary vote this Wednesday 10 June.
As a Labour MEP, I am fully opposed to the so-called ‘investor-state dispute settlement’ scheme (ISDS), and will vote accordingly on 10 June.
This is not yet a vote for or against TTIP itself. Instead, the point of the vote on Wednesday is to communicate a clear view from the European Parliament to EU negotiators on what is, and is not, acceptable to MEPs in the TTIP negotiations. The negotiations themselves are being conducted by the European Commission under instruction from national governments, including Britain, and are likely not to be completed for several years. But Wednesday’s vote in Parliament is still important. When the negotiations are complete, the final text will be submitted to MEPs for approval. By making it clear now what we will and will not accept, we can shape the negotiations over the coming years.
Last week, Parliament’s trade committee prepared the draft resolution that will be put to the whole European Parliament on 10 June. Labour MEPs supported this draft. It includes specific protections for the NHS and public services, and binding labour and environmental safeguards. It also clearly states that we will not accept any lowering of our food standards.
On ISDS, the draft states that we trust national courts in the case of investor protection disputes, as opposed to special ISDS tribunals. This is a step in the right direction, but Labour MEPs want the resolution to be even stronger, to make it absolutely clear that we refuse to allow ISDS in TTIP.
So we have tabled amendments that explicitly rule out ISDS from any trade deal with the US, and we are hopeful of achieving a majority to support those amendments.
For more information on TTIP, ISDS and what we are trying to achieve, see:
We are not opposed to the principle of a trade agreement – if it is shorn of the unacceptable elements that have been suggested, and if it is an equal and fair agreement providing benefits to both sides. However, we are some way from that!