TTIP - a corporate lobbying paradise

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When preparing the mandate for the negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and in the first important months of the talks themselves (January 2012 to February 2014), the European Commission’s trade department (DG Trade) had 597 behind-closed-door meetings with lobbyists to discuss the negotiations, according to internal Commission files obtained via access to information requests. 528 of those meetings (88%) were with business lobbyists while only 53 (9%) were with public interest groups. So, for every meeting with a trade union or consumer group, there were 10 with companies and industry federations. The rest of the meetings were with other actors such as public institutions and academics. In total, DG Trade met 288 lobby groups in the early phase of the TTIP talks – 250 of them from the private sector.

There is evidence that DG Trade actively encouraged the involvement of corporate lobbyists, while keeping pesky trade unionists and other public interest groups at bay. For example, in autumn 2012, DG Trade chased pesticide lobby group ECPA to participate in the then-ongoing public consultation on TTIP. As “the European crop protection/pesticides industry, is one of the key sectors we would be looking at in terms of improving the framework for business,” a DG Trade emailed ECPA, their contribution “would be most welcome”. The official added: “A substantial contribution from your side, ideally sponsored by your US partner, would thus be vital to start identifying opportunities of closer cooperation and increased compatibility”. ECPA responded a few weeks later, together with its US sister organisation CropLife America, demanding “significant harmonisation” for pesticide residues in food. Trade unions, environmentalists, and consumer groups did not receive such special invites.

Read the rest of Corporate Europe Observatory’s exposé of the biased nature of the European Commission’s ‘consultations’ on the TTIP.