EU Commission negotiating TTIP against people’s will says Borealis CEO

EU Commission negotiating TTIP against people’s will says Borealis CEO

The European Commission is negotiating the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) trade deal between the EU and the US against the will of European public opinion, the CEO of Austrian polymers and fertilizers producer Borealis said

“I just believe that what the EU is doing is essentially against the will of the European people, who are mostly happy with the regulation and have a large degree of scepticism about genetically modified crops,” said Borealis’ CEO Mark Garrett.

Environmentalist group Greenpeace made public documents on May 1, 2016 that showed the US’ motivation in bringing some chemicals widely used in that country into the EU. Some products, such as genetically modified crops (GMCs), are widely-used in the US but forbidden at present in the EU.

Trade group European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic), to which Borealis belongs, has been a strong supporter of TTIP, but on Wednesday it said it had no comments about the revelations.

However, some European chemical and fertilizers producers have voiced their concern about the TTIP consequences.

In November 2015, Polish producer Grupa Azoty said it was “concerned about the potential consequences of allowing American companies to enter European markets” without having first ensuring a fair and level playing field.

“I don’t understand why governments would act not in the interest of their own people. But then, I live in Switzerland, where the government has to act in the interest of people,” said Garrett.

Trade unions and consumer groups, as well as environmentalist organisations, have complained of a lack of access to the TTIP negotiations while trade groups like Cefic or the American Chemistry Council (ACC) would have reportedly had a seat at the table.

The negotiations have been conducted under maximum secrecy.

While Cefic said it would not comment on the Greenpeace leaked documents, its German peer VCI argued on 2 May that “some demands in trade negotiations are simply unacceptable to the other party [and] bringing forward maximum demands is the usual procedure” in such negotiations, said director general Utz Tillmann.

“The fight is hard in the debate about TTIP. Evidently, some individuals do not stop short at abusing the trust placed in them by publishing confidential documents. This has nothing to do with fair play in politics,” added Tillmann.

Asked whether the revelations over the weekend would put the TTIP negotiations on hold, Borealis’ Garrett said: “No. I’m very cynical, they will find [a way]… Americans are threatening to do something on the imports of automobiles [if TTIP does not go through] which the German wouldn’t be very happy with.”

Garrett added that he disliked the way other industrial participants or consumer groups had not been included in the negotiations. “But then, it’s very unusual that someone like me will say this,” he said.

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