Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:01 pm on 9th July 2015.

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Photo of Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader (Trade and Investment) 5:01 pm, 9th July 2015

I am sure my hon. Friend speaks on behalf of many of our hon. Friends’ constituents who have written to us with similar concerns.

It is unacceptable that Members of the House and the European Parliament have been prevented from properly examining the documents in the process. At one stage, Members of the European Parliament were only allowed to see the documents relating to the treaty in a secret room and could not even remove them. It is self-defeating to act in the public good but prevent the public from properly examining the work that is being carried out on their behalf.

It is also of great concern to many that, in order to standardise the rules governing markets in the US and the EU, TTIP will lead to the lowest common standard of regulations. The European Union in particular has been a force for good in the creation of world-leading safety standards, which protect the best interests of workers and consumers. It is one of the many benefits of retaining membership of the European Union. We should celebrate those successes, not seek to undermine them.

However, my main point is that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership has the potential to undermine public services in my constituency and across Scotland and the UK. We need to take decisive action now to prevent this outcome. The Scottish Government have already made a number of representations to the UK Government and the European Commission about the possible implications of TTIP for Scottish public services, in particular the Scottish NHS and Scottish Water. I welcome the tone of the responses to date, which have contained encouraging words about how TTIP does not pose any threat to the NHS. In particular, I welcome the statement by the European Commission Director General for Trade that

“the net effect of the EU’s approach is that nothing in TTIP will lead to privatisation of the NHS”.

However, the fact remains that both the Scottish public and the Scottish Government must be able to see the final legal text of any agreement to be fully assured on this vital issue.