Last week, U.S. and European Union (EU) negotiators held a second round of Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) discussions. During the week-long talks, negotiators examined how to reduce regulatory and industry costs for chemicals.
According to U.S. TTIP chief negotiator Dan Mullaney, a range of tools are available to reduce costs for chemicals and other sectors. Ignacio Garcia Bercero, the EU’s chief negotiator, said specific ideas for cost reduction include harmonization of labeling requirements and better cooperation between the EPA and ECHA in performing risk assessment and exchanging data to avoid unnecessary testing. Bercero said the European and U.S. negotiating teams also discussed regulatory compatibility for cosmetics. Negotiators considered the feasibility of achieving “greater convergence” between the positive and negative lists of cosmetic ingredients in the EU and the U.S., which may be difficult since the U.S. allows certain cosmetic ingredients that are prohibited in the EU, said Bercero.
Meanwhile, NGOs have continued to express concerns over the lack of transparency in TTIP negotiations. Spokespeople from the European Consumer Organization (BEUC) and Friends of the Earth Europe said that open negotiations are necessary to ensure that the trade deal does not undermine or eliminate existing consumer legislation in the EU, as well as U.S. states like California with stricter chemical legislation. Both groups want access to the negotiating texts and regular consultations before and after each negotiating round. In response to NGO concerns, both Mullaney and Bercero said that talks on regulatory convergence in the chemical sector will not affect the level of protection or legislation under REACH or TSCA. The EPA has also stated that it does not believe TTIP negotiations will influence the agency’s “risk-based approach to chemicals management.”
The next round of TTIP negotiations will take place in Washington, D.C., between December 16 and 20.