The Committee has announced it will hold meetings to examine the potential impacts of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). This will cover the implications for the devolved policy areas of health (NHS Scotland), education (further and higher education institutes) agriculture, the environment and climate change, as well as the potential benefits for the Scottish economy of reducing trade barriers with the USA.
European and External Relations Committee Convener Christina McKelvie MSP said:
“There has been much media coverage and public concern about exactly what TTIP might mean for Scotland. In hosting public meetings on the relative opportunities and risks that an EU-US trade agreement could have in Scotland across key devolved areas we hope to provide a platform for informed debate. All the meetings will be broadcast and archived on our website so that people can follow the discussions even if they can’t attend the meetings.”
Further details will be available in the coming weeks ahead of the meetings taking place. The first is on Thursday 27 November, with participants from Trade Unions and the third sector discussing the issues with the Committee:
Mary Alexander, Deputy Regional Secretary, Unite Scotland;
David Anderson, Scotland President, Universities College Union;
Arianna Andreangeli, Lecturer in Competition Law, Edinburgh University;
Stephen Boyd, Assistant Secretary, STUC;
Richard Dixon, Director, Friends of the Earth Scotland;
Liz Murray, Head of Scottish Campaigns, World Development Movement;
Scott Walker, Chief Executive, National Farmers Union Scotland; and
Dave Watson, Scottish Organiser (Bargaining and Campaigns), Unison Scotland.
On 11 December, the Committee will meet with business organisations and individual businesses. In the New Year, discussions will take place with the European Commission and the Committee will then consider its next steps in relation to the issues raised.
Trade is an exclusive competence of the European Union; as a result, the European Commission takes the lead in trade talks. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a trade agreement that is presently being negotiated between the European Union and the United States.
It aims to remove trade barriers in a wide range of economic sectors to make it easier to buy and sell goods and services between the EU and the US. The negotiations began in July 2013 and thus far seven rounds of negotiations have taken place. Whilst both sides had initially hoped a quick agreement could be reached, it now looks unlikely that any deal will be concluded before the summer of 2015 at the earliest.
The Scottish Government has previously stated that it believes that TTIP could deliver significant economic benefits for Scotland and confirmed that it has been engaging with the UK Government to maximise the benefits of TTIP for Scotland and to ensure that concerns about TTIP are addressed.
Papers for the Committee meetings are available on here when published:
Meetings will be broadcast live on the Parliament’s website and photographs will be available afterwards.
You can also follow the work of the Committee on Twitter: @SP_Europe