Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Questions (49)

Paul Murphy

Question:

49. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if she shares the concerns of those who fear that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership will weaken consumer protection and environmental legislation; if the negotiations should take place in a more transparent manner; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [15838/16]

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Written answers (Question to Jobs)

The EU-US free trade negotiations are the most open and transparent trade negotiations to date. Reports of rounds together with all information in relation to EU positions in the negotiations are published on the European Commission’s website.

Unlike the EU, the US does not publish its negotiating texts. This is why special reading rooms have been created in capitals around Europe to allow parliamentarians to review the consolidated EU-US versions of the negotiating texts.

I recently wrote to the Ceann Comhairle and to the Office of the Cathaoirleach of the Seanad, drawing attention to the Irish reading room in my Department and invited Oireachtas Members to visit and consult the documents.

An EU-US trade deal will stand to benefit business, large and small, and consumers. The negotiation in respect of regulatory co-operation will ensure that economic gains do not lower our high standards in the field of labour rights, the environment or consumer’s health and safety. This principle is built into the negotiating mandate which guides the Commission in these negotiations.

The aim of the negotiations is closer cooperation by making present and future rules more compatible, while ensuring food, animal and plant imports are safe. Making the trading landscape easier and more predictable is particularly important to SMEs, given that trade barriers tend to disproportionally burden smaller firms.

Ireland’s enterprises are particularly well placed to take up opportunities to trade more easily with the US. This will build on our already rewarding economic relationship. It will also generate new opportunities to create employment and continue to grow our economy.