LETTER: Trade deal vote

Last week I and other MEPs were set to vote on our position over the major free trade deal between the EU and US.

Thursday, 18th June 2015, 2:19 pm
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However, the agreement received so many late amendments that, in respect for the democratic process, this vote has been delayed.

As calls grow to scrap the trade deal entirely, I believe we need to look at how to address its flaws without throwing the baby out with the bath water.

A trade deal with the US has the potential to bring major benefits to the local economy.

Currently the US is the biggest export destination for small businesses in the South East, thousands of which export their goods and services to the American market.

But barriers to trade between the EU and the US, such as differing regulations and standards, make life difficult for these small companies.

TTIP would bring standards in Europe and the US closer together in many areas, making it easier for small firms to export without having to deal with mounds of paperwork.

However, there are very valid concerns over some aspects of the proposed trade deal.

Many constituents have contacted me about the proposed Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), a form of secret courts which many fear give too much power to multinational corporations and undermine the democratic process.

I believe the EU should lead the way in replacing this flawed system with a public, international investment court, dragging these secretive decisions into the open and ensuring judges are appointed independently.

At the same time, we should remember that outside the EU the UK would have no voice in these negotiations and on our own we would find it harder to stand up to US demands for special investment protection.

We are far better off negotiating as part of the EU, the world’s biggest trading bloc, where we can push for reform of the flawed ISDS system while reaping the benefits of free trade, getting the best result for our businesses and consumers.

Catherine Bearder

MEP for South East England

• Want to share your views? Send your letters by email to [email protected], [email protected] or [email protected], or post them to Letters, Editorial, Cannon House, Chatsworth Road, Worthing, BN11 1NA. Remember to include your full name and address.

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