TTIP and Public Health

Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) aim to increase global trade and promote economic growth and historically, this has led to improved population health. However, this link is now weakening and attention is being focused instead on the effect of FTAs on health and the ability of governments to mitigate against any negative impacts.

The London School of Economics and Political Science has published a study ‘The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership: international trade law, health systems and public health’ which assesses the health impact of the proposed Free Trade Agreement between the USA and the EU.

For more information and a link to the study of TTIP and public health on the website


Public health concerns over TTIP

An important chapter of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) trade negotiations between the EU and US deals with ’Regulatory Cooperation’. Whilst it may sound dull and harmless it poses and extremely serious threat to national governments’ right to regulate, for example to protect public health, consumer rights, workers or the environment. the European Public Health Association believes there is a need to defend governments’ and the EU’s right to legislate and set policies to address today’s major public health challenges posed by chronic diseases, overweight and obesity, antibiotic resistance and access to medicines and healthcare.

To read more about the TTIP negotiations go to the website.

Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)

The European Parliament has made recommendations about the TTIP negotiations that include vital safeguards for public health and send a clear signal that the controversial Investor-to-State Dispute Settlement system (ISDS) must be reformed. As the European Parliament will have a final say on TTIP, it is crucial that MEPs have set down some red lines assuring citizens that fundamental European standards that protect health and preventing disease will not be compromised in EU trade deals. The European Parliament has clearly signalled that TTIP must not take precedence over the right of the EU and national governments to regulate in the public interest.

The European Parliament has also clearly stated that the existing ISDS is not fit for purpose and that “business as usual” is not an option. Specifically, it has approved an amendment calling for the replacement of the current ISDS with a new system” where “private interests cannot undermine public policy objectives”.

As the General Secretary of the European Public Health Alliance pointed out “The MEPs are adding their voices to 150,000 citizens who said No to ISDS in a public consultation earlier this year. Now it’s time for the Commission to finally listen to the public and do away with an fatally flawed, undemocratic, opaque private arbitration system which allows companies to sue sovereign governments for protecting us from dangers to our health”.

For more information about TTIP and public health, go to

TTIP Transparency

The European Commission has published its analysis of some 150,000 replies to an online consultation on investment protection and investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

A key question in the consultation was whether the EU’s proposed approach for TTIP would achieve the right balance between protecting investors and safeguarding the EU’s right and ability to regulate in the public interest.

To read more about the responses, click here on

Details about the proposed EU/US TTIP

The European Commission has published the EU’s proposals for legal text in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) it is negotiating with the US.

This is the first time the Commission has made public such proposals in bilateral trade talks and reflects its commitment to greater transparency in the negotiations. These texts set out the actual language and binding commitments which the EU would like to see in the parts of the agreement covering regulatory and rules issues. They cover competition, food safety and animal and plant health, customs issues, technical barriers to trade, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and government-to-government dispute settlement (GGDS, not to be confused with ISDS). The Commission has also published TTIP position papers explaining the EU’s approach on engineering, vehicles, and sustainable development.

To make the online documents more accessible to the non-expert, the Commission is also publishing a ‘Reader’s Guide’, explaining what each text means. It is also issuing a glossary of terms and acronyms, and a series of factsheets setting out in plain language what is at stake in each chapter of TTIP and what the EU’s aims are in each area.

The Commission intends to publish further texts and proposals in the course of the negotiations, as they become available.

To read the texts, click here on

Problems with the directive on trade secrets

A new directive on trade secrets being produced by the European Commission is strongly criticized by the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA).

They are particularly concerned that:

  • it contains an unreasonably broad definition of ‘trade secrets’
  • it offers overly-broad protection for companies
  • there are inadequate safeguards to ensure consumers, journalists and researchers have reliable access to data that is in the public interest.

Specifically, EPHA has drawn attention to the fact that:

  • pharmaceutical companies could argue that clinical trials data could be a ‘trade secret’
  • the chemical industry could use this directive to refuse to release information on chemicals in plastics, clothing and other products that can cause severe damage to the environment
  • the food industry is arguing that information on toxicological studies contains confidential business information and shouldn’t have to be disclosed.

To read the full statement, go to