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Hm, yes.

I think Dean Baker is wrong, although his thoughts were exactly how I thought before today clicking around the Corporate Europe Observatory website. Because up until now, the method has been to do a deal that is as big as possible and try to ram it through while denouncing any opponents as backwards trade opponents.

However, if Corporate Europe Observatory is right in their interpretation of the leaks the US Chamber of Commerce and BusinessEurope has a new strategy. Instead of ramming through a big pile of stinking proposals, they will try to get a new structure in place that will then be used to water down existing regulations and halt new regulations (which also helps in getting around current regulations.

Regulation - none of our business? | Corporate Europe Observatory

Business interests on both sides of the Atlantic are pushing hard to get an institutional structure, an "oversight body", into the agreement, mostly referred to as an EU-US "Regulatory Council". This would be based on a set of rules for regulatory cooperation that would enable the parties to deal with their differences in a more long-term fashion, through procedures that will give business the upper hand. It might very well be that the final TTIP text will not include immediate concessions on public health and environmental regulation. But it could include an approach for the future, giving the basic message to citizens that regulation is none of their business, but first and foremost the business of business. 

Regulatory cooperation is a long term project. It is meant to deal with differences that could not be settled at the negotiating table at the highest level and also to respond to new regulations as they occur. In the course of the negotiations, the parties will see to what extent they can agree on common standards, or recognise each others' standards as basically similar. But in those areas where this is not possible in the short term, they will set up procedures to deal with them in the future. The idea is to make TTIP a "living agreement", not confined to what they can agree on in the first place, but a continuous process of ever deeper integration . That raises the prospect of the parties reaching a conclusion on even the most difficult issues, such as food safety. For corporations  from the EU and US, it raises hopes for better access to each other's markets including in sectors that meet obstacles today, and for that reason it is being promoted vigorously by the business lobbies on both sides of the Atlantic.

That formula has been pushed systematically by the business lobby since 2012; in particular, a proposal on "regulatory cooperation" from BusinessEurope and the US Chamber of Commerce is at the center of the debate (see box below on the two lobby groups).



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by A swedish kind of death on Tue Jan 14th, 2014 at 03:03:16 PM EST
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