Trade minister hesitantly supports US-EU deal

Minister Lilianne Ploumen has asked the Social-Economic Council (SER) to investigate the possible consequences for employees in the Netherlands in the trade treaty TTIP, NOS reports. Europe and the United States are currently negotiating TTIP, which is the largest trade treaty ever.

The SER will look at the guarantees about social norms in the treaty in particular. "The investigation of the SER will in particular be on how to ensure that it can best be implemented and whether any additional safeguards are needed." Ploumen said. The SER consists of employers, employees and experts.

Minister Ploumen is a strong supporter of the treaty and believes that it will generate jobs and economic growth. She also hopes that the extra agreements between Europe and America can be the basis for global deals on, for example, consumer protection and copy right.

Despite all that, Ploumen also has some reservations. She thinks that the clause in the treaty that enables companies to go beyond the legal system to sue governments should be adjusted. She also objects to the power that a so-called Regulatory Cooperation Body seems to get. Ploumen thinks that the RCB should not be above the law and should only give advice.

Ploumen's own party, the PvdA, previously opposed the treaty, partly because of the potential effects it could have on the labor market. The party is concerned that European companies may come into trouble if they have to compete with US companies.