As campaigners from War on Want and other anti-TTIP activists plan tomorrow (Saturday 11 October) to take to the streets around Britain to protest against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), David Martin, Scotland's senior MEP, has today reiterated that a good deal is within reach and worth fighting for.
The Scottish Labour MEP, who sits on the International Trade committee of the European Parliament, said Labour MEPs see great potential in TTIP to kick-start the UK economy and help small businesses, but warned that the deal cannot come at any cost.
"Trade is a vital element of our economic recovery and TTIP can begin to set high global trading standards, beyond those which countries such as China would advocate.
But I have strong demands including the protection of public services and EU environmental and food safety standards. Transatlantic trade must be fair as well as free.
"The European Commission has been explicit that EU laws on hormone-treated beef, chlorinated chicken and GMOs will not be altered. This is vital and Labour MEPs are scrutinising negotiations to hold the Commission to account."
Labour MEPs sit with the Socialist and Democrat (S&D) Group in the European Parliament consisting of 191 members from all 28 EU countries. The Group will play the key role in shaping the European Parliament's position before it votes to approve or reject a future deal.
"I and my S&D colleagues have been clear that we see no need for the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism (ISDS) in this deal.
“ISDS already exists in UK investment agreements, but this is an opportunity to scrap it with countries which have highly developed legal systems. It is simply not necessary."
David Martin, who is also the S&D Group spokesperson on international trade, added "The European Commission is duty-bound to negotiate trade agreements based on a mandate unanimously agreed by the Member States national governments. The UK government needs to take ISDS out of the TTIP mandate or explain why it thinks it is justified."
Speaking on the issue of transparency, Mr Martin added "Labour MEPs have been clear that there needs to be more transparency, and we were pleased to see national governments listened to our demands and published the TTIP mandate."
"There is still more to be done on transparency but it is time to stop pretending these are secret negotiations.
“The mandate and European Commission position papers are available online, the European Parliament regularly and publicly debates TTIP and organised campaigns such as today show that citizens and civil society are fully engaged, which I welcome.
“Let's focus our efforts on creating a fair and balanced deal for 21st century trade in a globalised world which reflects our European values."