The European Parliament has backed the conclusion of talks over an EU-US trade deal (TTIP) that could boost the UK economy by up to £10 billion a year, with 436 MEPs voting in favour and 241 against.
MEPs have demanded that the controversial Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) be replaced by a transparent and accountable form of investor protection that protects the right of governments to regulate in the public interest.
The Parliament's resolution also calls on negotiators to ensure that EU environmental and consumer standards are not lowered, public services such as the NHS are excluded and the transparency of the negotiations is improved.
The needs of small businesses must be prioritised in the talks, MEPs emphasised, with a focus on lifting bureaucratic barriers to make it easier for small firms and entrepreneurs to export to the US.
Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder commented:
"Today's vote gives the European Commission strong democratic support to conclude trade talks with the US.
"Public concerns must be taken on board. That means ISDS should be scrapped and replaced by a fair, transparent form of investor protection which ensures national governments have full control over the provision of public services.
"We should also remember that the US is by far the biggest export destination for small British businesses. Helping these small firms expand by reducing barriers to trade should be at the heart of this deal."