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Mondiale standaarden of race-to-the-bottom?

Een analyse van regelgevende samenwerking in de onderhandelingen over een Trans-Atlantisch Vrijhandels- en Investeringsakkoord (TTIP)

Journal Res Publica, Issue 3 2015
Keywords trade, European Union, TTIP, regulatory convergence, global standards, race-to-the-bottom
Authors Ferdi De Ville and Niels Gheyle
AbstractAuthor's information

    Since the summer of 2013, the European Union (EU) and the United States (US) are negotiating the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Especially for the EU, this is one of the policy priorities for the present term. TTIP is supposed to bring much-needed growth and jobs and to enable the EU to remain a global standardsetter, all without lowering EU levels of regulatory protection. Opponents of the agreement, however, fear that TTIP would lead to a regulatory race-to-the-bottom. This article scrutinizes these claims through a detailed document analysis complemented with a number of interviews. It is embedded in the political-economic literature on the trade-regulation nexus as well as on exporting standards and secondary literature on past EU-US regulatory cooperation attempts. We argue that the effects of TTIP are dependent on the concrete mode of regulatory convergence chosen in the agreement. If, as seems presently most plausible, the negotiators opt for bilateral mutual recognition as their preferred mode for regulatory convergence, the plausibility that TTIP would lead to global standards is reduced. The risk of running into a regulatory race-to-the-bottom increases in that case, but will ultimately depend on the number of sectors where this mode is applicable and under which conditions this is applied. We conclude that the probability is low that the TTIP agreement being negotiated will lead either to a significant increase in global standards or to a direct large-scale race-to-the-bottom.


Ferdi De Ville
Ferdi De Ville is docent Europese Politiek aan het Centrum voor EU-Studies van de Universiteit Gent. Zijn onderzoeksbelangstelling gaat voornamelijk uit naar Europees handelsbeleid en de politiek-economische gevolgen van de eurocrisis.

Niels Gheyle
Niels Gheyle is als doctoraatsonderzoeker verbonden aan het Centrum voor EU-Studies. Zijn onderzoek richt zich op de politisering van Europees handelsbeleid, met een specifieke focus op het vrijhandelsverdrag tussen de VS en de EU (TTIP).
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