Sunday, 27 September 2015


Cecilia Malmström, the EU commissioner for trade, gave an important speech in the US last Thursday. In her Isaiah Berlin lecture at the Yale Club, Ms Malmström expressed confidence that the negotiations between the US and EU would continue to make progress.

She stressed that transparency would be a key feature of the final treaty. I understand from a talk given by Catherine Bearder MEP in Bournemouth that Ms Malmström has already negotiated away the secret tribunals to settle claims of unfair treatment by companies; these will now be heard in open court. It is also worth repeating that public services like the NHS will be specifically excluded from these claims. Being a Swede, and with a background in consumer protection, Ms Malmstöm can be relied on to ensure that EU standards will be maintained. In some areas, US consumer protection is higher than ours and the final TTIP agreement will incorporate the best of both.

The recent Volkswagen deception points up the differences between EU and US vehicle safety regulation and testing. In earlier years, we had the breast implant scandal. A common standard will remove the anomalies used to their advantage by manufacturers on both sides of the Atlantic.

However, the major benefit will be to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) who are disproportionately affected by trade barriers and differing standards.

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