Position Paper by ECOS: Mutual recognition of standards in TTIP

ECOS defends the environmental interests in the European Standardisation System, especially through contributing with legal and technical expertise, to the evaluation of standardisation needs and the standards’ development or revision process. ECOS particularly focuses on standards developed to support EU environmental legislation and policies. ECOS is the only environmental organisation worldwide specialised in standardisation and technical product policies.

The European Union’s current proposal for legal provisions on regulatory cooperation under the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) implies extending regulatory and technical cooperation between the EU and US authorities by cutting red tape, developing new structures and processes to increase information exchanges, and by identifying common ‘areas of interest’ for further cooperation.

Under a specific section on legal provisions on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), TTIP also proposes to facilitate the harmonisation of standards based on mutual interest and reciprocity, for instance through a process of mutual recognition where EU and US standards could equally provide presumption of conformity with relevant European legislation.

The current TTIP proposal on regulatory cooperation will increase the use of standards as a replacement for binding regulation. Binding regulation is often more appropriate and effective to address societal concerns, in particular in the health and environmental areas. The differences in standard-setting processes and assumptions between the EU and US makes mutual recognition highly undesirable. EU-US cooperation should encourage the use of existing multilateral instruments instead of creating competing bilateral fora.

ECOS considers that closer regulatory convergence and technical cooperation on standards in the context of TTIP threaten citizens’ welfare and the environment.

Read the full position paper ‘Mutual recognition of standards in TTIP: Another threat to citizens’ welfare and the environment?’ here.

The executive summary is also available to read in German here.