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TTIP – Increased Trade for Better Living? (15-16 June 2015)

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This conference, co-organised by Demeter International and the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA), will provide a discussion platform for negotiators, decision-makers and stakeholders to exchange views on civil society concerns about the possible implications of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) on sustainable food and agriculture, public health and services, education and democracy. It will discuss visions of fair and sound international trade, develop ideas for inter-state arrangements that would foster fair trade and debate whether TTIP and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) contain any approaches that could lead to healthier trade.

The planned free trade agreements between the EU and the US and Canada, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), have stirred heated debates among civil society organisations, which question whether these agreements can achieve their stated aims whilst protecting health. TTIP supporters and negotiators continue to reassure civil society that TTIP would not affect the member states’ sovereign right to regulate and would not lower European public health, agricultural or food safety standards. However, there are legitimate concerns about risks for standard setting and maintenance in the fields of sustainable food, agriculture, health systems, safe labour and animal welfare. Mistrust prevails towards the final outcome of the agreements, since negotiations have taken place behind closed doors and only with civil society pressure have small positive steps towards more transparency been made. Proposed instruments such as regulatory cooperation or the Investor-to-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) threaten to undermine the right to regulate and the democratic development of legislation.

Conference Aim

The aim of the conference is to produce a list of concrete recommendations to decision makers on how to construct better and fairer international trade relations for the benefit of societies and the environment. The outcomes will be compiled in a conference report – including concrete recommendations around the key questions. These will then be communicated to decision-makers.

Who should attend?

The conference will be of particular interest and importance for the representatives of civil society organisations, EU institution and member state representatives, researchers and other stakeholders dealing directly and indirectly with trade, agriculture, food and public health policies

The conference will seek answers to the following key questions:

  1. What practical changes would TTIP in its current form impose on EU sustainable agricultural production and (local) food processing?
  2. What implications could free trade agreements have on European health systems?
  3. What impact could mechanisms like regulatory cooperation or ISDS have on the quality of democratic legislative processes?
  4. What model and structures could be used to mitigate the risks free trade agreements pose for sustainable agriculture, food and public health?
  5. What standards and rules should be included in the new 5-year EU strategy on trade to make international trade fair, democratic and supportive of sustainable economies?
 
15th June (Monday) - On the first day the plenary sessions will set the scene focusing on key areas of concern (status of the negotiations, sustainable food and farming, health systems and services), where participants will have the opportunity to contribute short comments and questions.
 
16th June (Tuesday) - On the second day different working groups will be set up to allow in-depth discussions. Here participants are welcome to contribute with constructive knowledge and perspectives.
 
In the final plenary session conference conclusions will be drafted based on the plenary discussions and the workshop debates in an interactive and inclusive way.
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June 15th, 2015 1:30 PM   to   June 16th, 2015 6:00 PM
- Plenary Sessions -->; European Economic and Social Committee, Rue Van Maerlant 2, 1040 Brux
- Workshops -->; Résidence Palace, 155 Rue de la Loi – Block C 1040 Brussels
Belgium
Phone: (+) 32 (0) 2 233 38 72
Email:

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