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Waste included in landmark transatlantic negotiations

Waste matters are included in negotiations on a landmark trade deal between the US and the EU, documents have revealed.

Discussions are underway on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) which, if concluded, would represent the world’s biggest agreement of its kind.

The European Commission has published a series of papers stating its position on a range of issues that are part of the negotiations, including sustainable development.

The documents indicate that the Commission would want to see recognition of the importance of waste management “for the protection of human health and the environment and resource efficiency”.

Under the proposals, the parties would commit to exchange information and co-operate to:

  • “promote the prevention and environmentally sound management” of all types of waste including in third countries
  • combat illegal shipments of all types of waste, including to and from third countries

Other proposals that have been released cover competition, food safety and animal and plant health, customs issues, technical barriers to trade, small and medium-sized enterprises, and settling disputes between governments.

The issues were tabled for discussion with the US in the negotiating round of 19-23 May 2014, although further talks have since taken place.

The publication of the documents follows criticism over secrecy in the negotiations.

Trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström said: “I’m delighted that we can start the new year by clearly demonstrating through our actions the commitment we made to greater transparency.”

Critics have also claimed that TTIP puts the interests of multinational companies ahead of environmental and social considerations.

The Commission has estimated that a deal would increase the size of the EU economy by around €120bn (£94bn) or 0.5% of GDP.

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