The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TBT) Agreement was a controversial proposed trade agreement between the European Union and the United States. Negotiations began in 2013, but ultimately stalled in 2016 due to widespread public opposition.
The TBT Agreement aimed to reduce barriers to trade and investment between the EU and US through regulatory cooperation in areas such as food safety, environmental protection, and intellectual property. Proponents argued that it would boost economic growth and create jobs on both sides of the Atlantic.
However, critics raised concerns about the potential impact on consumers, workers, and the environment. They argued that the TBT Agreement would undermine existing regulations and standards, and give too much power to big corporations at the expense of public health and safety.
One of the most contentious issues was the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism, which would have allowed foreign investors to sue national governments over policies they deemed harmful to their profits. Critics argued that this would give corporations the power to challenge democratically enacted laws, such as those protecting public health or the environment.
The TBT Agreement also faced opposition from civil society organizations, trade unions, and political parties, who organized protests and campaigns against it. They argued that the negotiations were secretive and undemocratic, and that the public had no say in the process.
In the end, the TBT Agreement was put on hold following the election of Donald Trump as US president in 2016. Trump had campaigned on a protectionist platform, and his administration withdrew from the negotiations. This effectively halted the agreement`s progress, and it has not been pursued since.
While the TBT Agreement may be a thing of the past, its legacy lives on in the ongoing debate over trade policy and regulation. The arguments and concerns raised during the negotiations continue to shape public opinion and influence policymaking, especially in the areas of food safety, environmental protection, and intellectual property. As such, it remains a significant point of reference for anyone interested in transatlantic trade relations.