EU External Trade: USA

Health written question – answered on 8th September 2014.

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Photo of Jim Sheridan Jim Sheridan Labour, Paisley and Renfrewshire North

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will veto the inclusion of NHS services in the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement.

Photo of Jane Ellison Jane Ellison The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

The Government does not believe that the United Kingdom’s interests would be served by seeking to exclude health from the scope of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations. This would prevent our world-class pharmaceutical and medical devices sectors from benefiting from improved access to the United States’ market, increasing growth and employment in the UK.

The Government considers trade in both goods and services to be good for the UK and we already have many bilateral and multilateral trade agreements in place. For example, through the general agreement on trade in services (GATS) 1995, we have long-standing agreements on trade, including in health services. The UK’s aim in relation to health services in Free Trade Agreement negotiations, including TTIP, is to maintain commitments that are broadly in line with our existing obligations under GATS.

We have no intention of allowing the TTIP to dictate the opening up of national health service services to further competition; and it will not do so. The NHS will always be free at the point of use for everyone who needs it.

We have made clear our commitment that the NHS will always be there for everyone who needs it, funded from general taxation, free at the point of use. The TTIP could not change this.

TTIP will also not affect the position that it is for local NHS commissioners to take decisions on which providers should deliver services in the best interests of their patients.

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