Mr Daniel Caspary, European People’s Party (EPP) coordinator International Trade Committee, said this morning that looking at draft negotiation texts does not make any sense. This morning the EPP group in the European Parliament organised a breakfast debate on the proposed trade agreement with the US (TTIP / TAFTA). The most interesting remark was about transparency. Many speakers at the meeting pointed out transparency is essential as the agreement involves regulatory convergence (may change our laws). Many speakers called for the timely publication of negotiation texts.
In this blog post I will argue that investor – state dispute settlement (ISDS) is not compatible with the EU Treaties. Summary: EU laws have to be compatible with the EU Treaties (including human rights). International agreements do not change this, EU laws implementing international agreements have to be compatible with the EU Treaties as well. The EU Treaties establish a complete system of legal remedies and procedures, the EU Court of Justice (ECJ) has exclusive competence to review the lawfulness of EU acts. Investor – state dispute settlement creates a parallel track.
After the negotiations, the EU member states may not have a veto on the proposed trade agreement with the US (TTIP / TAFTA). I wrote earlier about some issues with the EU draft mandate for the EU – US trade agreement. In addition, I note that the draft TTIP mandate (pdf) does not mention criminal measures. Criminal measures were the reason that the EU member states had a veto on ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement). With ACTA, the member states negotiated the criminal measures.
Today the European Parliament International Trade committee voted on a draft resolution on the EU – US trade agreement (TTIP / TAFTA). La Quadrature du Net summarizes it: EU Parliament Opens The Door to Copyright Repression in TAFTA. The INTA committee could have voted meaningful amendments into the draft resolution, but declined to do that. Intellectual property
The committee adopted this compromise amendment:
“Stresses that intellectual property is one of the driving forces of innovation and creation and a pillar of the knowledge-based economy and that the agreement should include strong protection of precisely and clearly defined areas of intellectual property rights (IPR), including geographical indications, and be consistent with international agreements; believes that other areas of divergence in IPR should be solved in line with international standards of protection;”
The words “precisely and clearly defined areas of intellectual property rights” came from an amendment proposed by Marietje Schaake and Metin Kazak. The clearly defined areas are still to be defined…
Today the FFII sent a letter to the European Parliament committee on International Trade. Thursday 25 April 2013 the committee will vote on 198 amendments to a draft resolution on the EU – US trade agreement (TTIP / TAFTA)
Text as pdf, or below:
22 April 2013
Dear Members of the International Trade committee,
We are writing to express our concerns with the proposed trade agreement with the US (TTIP). We invite you to take our concerns into account when voting on the amendments to the draft resolution on the TTIP. In this letter we argue that citizens have a right to openness; that all measures in the agreement have to fully respect our rights enshrined in human rights instruments, including the UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; that the agreement has to exclude intellectual property rights; and that the Parliament has to step in and defend democracy and the Treaties by excluding investor to state dispute settlement from the agreement. Openness
The agreement will mostly attempt to deeply integrate EU and US laws, as the trade tariffs between the EU and US are already low.
25 April at 10 am, the European Parliament International Trade committee will vote on a draft resolution on the proposed EU – US trade agreement (TAFTA / TTIP). There are 198 amendments, on many subjects, like intellectual property out (especially from amendment 114), others aim at stronger IP, investor – state dispute resolution out (amendments 163, 164), more transparency. Some mention ACTA. http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meetdocs/2009_2014/organes/inta/inta_20130424_0900.htm
agenda at the top, amendments at the bottom. See also Issues with EU draft mandate for the EU – US trade agreement
Berlin, 18 April 2013 — A cross-partisan Deutsche Bundestag resolution on software patenting received its plenary first reading. The resolution asks for changes to the controversial granting of software patents by patent institutions. The resolution follows up on an earlier resolution from 2005 and sents a forceful German message to Commissioner Michel Barnier. Brussels is asked to take action on a clarification concerning the overlap of software copyright with patent law. The Bundestag which unlike the European Parliament enjoys a right of legislative initiative threatens to take national action.
Last week I wrote that the trade agreement with Singapore will be secret until it enters into force. The statement was based on an email from EU Trade Spokesperson John Clancy. It turns out this is not correct, the text will be published before the summer. When I first contacted Mr Clancy, the FFII email server was down. I used a personal email address.