US-EU trade deal will not undermine Reach:VCI

05 August 2014 17:56 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)--The planned trade deal between the US and the EU will not lead to a lowering of safety standards in the EU, and it will not undermine the EU’s Reach programme for the registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals, Germany-based chemical producer trade group VCI said on Tuesday.

The Frankfurt-based group was reacting to a German media report suggesting that Germany’s chemical industry insisted that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) currently being negotiated between the US and the EU should include a mutual recognition of standards for the registration of chemicals, thus raising the prospect of Reach being weakened.

“Germany’s chemical industry is committed to Reach,” said VCI general manager Utz Tillmann.

The US Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) and Reach differed with regard to the safety levels they are trying to achieve, he said.

Mutual recognition is therefore not useful, and the EU Commission is not targeting mutual recognition as part of its TTIP negotiations with the US, he added.

Frankfurt-based VCI represents the economic interest of about 1,650 Germany-based chemical firms.

In related news, political observers in Canada noted this week that TTIP, and a parallel Canada-EU deal, may yet fail over investor rights, in particular clauses that would give companies access to arbitration procedures, thereby circumventing EU and national court systems.

Germany and other EU members fear that strong investor rights could threaten EU environmental and consumer protection rules. The Canada-EU deal, as agreed in principle in October 2013, is widely regarded as a blueprint for TTIP, implying that its failure would not bode well for TTIP.

By Stefan Baumgarten