May 2, 2016 | By: CAROLINE COPLEY
A sweeping free trade deal being negotiated between the European Union and the United States would lower food safety and environmental standards, Greenpeace said on Monday, citing confidential documents from the talks.
But the European Commission said the documents reflected negotiating positions, not any final outcome, and the EU’s chief negotiator dismissed some of Greenpeace’s points as “flatly wrong.”
The U.S. Trade Representative’s office also rejected them. While it would not comment on the “validity of alleged leaks,” a spokesman said “the interpretations being given to these texts appear to be misleading at best and flat-out wrong at worst.”
Greenpeace opposes the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), arguing with other critics that it would hand too much power to big business at the expense of consumers and national governments.
Supporters say the TTIP would deliver more than $100 billion of economic gains on both sides of the Atlantic.
Greenpeace Netherlands published 248 pages of “consolidated texts” for 13 chapters, or about half, of the deal on the website TTIP-leaks.org on Monday. They date from early April, before a round of meetings in New York last week.
“We’ve done this to ignite a debate,” Greenpeace trade expert Juergen Knirsch told a news conference in Berlin, adding that the documents showed the negotiations should be halted.
“The best thing the EU Commission can do is to say ‘Sorry, we’ve made a mistake’.”
European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom called the leak a “storm in a teacup” and told an audience in Geneva the EU would not compromise its principles just to get a deal before U.S. President Barack Obama leaves office in January 2017.
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