David Cameron dismisses concerns over TTIP as “the reddest of red herrings”
Leaked documents suggest talks over TTIP have stalled because of “irreconcilable” differences between the EU and US positions
David Cameron has dismissed claims the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) deal between the EU and the US could jeopardise the future of public services as “the reddest of red herrings”.
Documents leaked by Greenpeace earlier this week suggest talks over TTIP have stalled because of “irreconcilable” differences between the EU and US positions on environmental protection.
Critics have suggested the trade deal would allow private companies to interfere with national regulatory decisions.
SNP MP Margaret Ferrier referred the Prime Minister to the leaked documents, with the MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West suggesting TTIP “makes unacceptable concessions in respect of public health and safety regulations, opening the doors for US investors to sue for loss of profits”.
But Cameron rejected concerns, saying the NHS is completely protected under the agreement, which he said could bring billions in investment.
In PMQs Ferrier asked: “Will the Prime Minister recognise the concern raised by the French President and tell this House what protections his government are seeking for the National Health Service and public services?”
Cameron responded: “This is the reddest of red herrings, I have to say. The health service is completely protected under this agreement, as it is under others.
“There are all sorts of reasons why people might be against free trade and wanting to see an expansion of trade, investment and jobs, but I think people ought to be honest about it and say that they do not want to see those things happen, rather than finding total red herrings to get in the way of something that could add tens of billion pounds to our economy and bring jobs and investment to our country.”
Jorgo Riss, the director of Greenpeace EU, told the Guardian the documents provide “an unparalleled look at the scope of US demands to lower or circumvent EU protections for environment and public health as part of TTIP”.
He said: “The EU position is very bad, and the US position is terrible. The prospect of a TTIP compromising within that range is an awful one.
“The way is being cleared for a race to the bottom in environmental, consumer protection and public health standards.”
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