SHEILA Duffy is wrong saying that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will put profits before people (Friends of The Scotsman, 11 December), and her suggestion that future initiatives to reduce smoking could be victims of TTIP- inspired legal proceedings is simply scaremongering.
We expect TTIP to significantly benefit companies on both sides of the Atlantic. Trade and investment with the US is important to Scotland – 500 companies here are US-owned and many use Scotland as a base for the EU market. Fourteen per cent of our exports go to the US. The US has been constantly ranked among the top two future markets by Scottish exporters. The negotiations also have positive strategic implications and can contribute to enhancing the international rules-based trading system raising global prosperity. Trade and investment are good things. TTIP is an opportunity, not a threat.
As part of the British-American Business Council (BABC) and alongside BritishAmerican Business (BAB) in London, we have been exploring the benefits of TTIP for companies in a series of roadshows, including four in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Many companies still face obstacles doing business with the US. The smaller you are, the more these get in the way. TTIP will help to remove barriers.
Opponents often misunderstand the implications of TTIP and Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS). ISDS cannot repeal or reverse legislation or require change in government policy, to the NHS or otherwise.
A recent NHS briefing stated that countries can specify areas reserving the right to adopt or maintain measures for particular services, such as public health. There is no goal stated or implied to undermine services, nor to negotiate more alignment. Also important, ISDS does not determine whether public services or government procurements are subject to litigation, which is within the remit of the commitments in the agreement themselves.
An improved ISDS mechanism should be a central component of agreement so that the very few disputes that arise can be resolved in depoliticised, transparent proceedings.
• Allan Hogarth is executive director of the Scottish North American Business Council