Today, the EU and US finished 11th round of talks on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Negotiators discussed all three pillars of what could be the biggest bilateral trade agreement in history, meaning market access for EU and US companies, regulatory cooperation and trade rules. The goal of the agreement is to slash trade taxes and facilitate trade between the two blocks with an aim to boost economic growth, create more job opportunities and modernise rules governing global trade.
In concrete terms the EU and the US have made substantial progress on market access for EU and US companies in all three areas meaning: tariffs, services and public procurement. Second tariff offer was exchanged, so both sides now arrived at a comparable level of proposals in terms of tariff line coverage which would facilitate further talks. Both sides have also exchanged proposals on product-specific rules of origin and discussed public procurement with a view to exchange market access proposals on public procurement in February next year.
Both sides also intensified discussions on regulatory cooperation and rules areas. In terms of regulatory cooperation, the discussions are led by the regulators from the EU and the US. The Commission regulators met with a number of US regulatory agencies including National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Federal Communication Commission, Food and Drug Administration, Occupational Health and Safety Administration and Environment Protection Agency. These meetings also provided an opportunity to clarify main principles of regulatory cooperation:
- Any cooperation is possible only if the level of protection for consumers stays the same or improves. This is not only true in TTIP, but for all other EU trade agreements, as announced in the new trade strategy by Commissioner Malmström.
- Any form of regulatory cooperation will not change or affect the EU regulatory and democratic proces
In line with a new, more responsible trade strategy, the EU also tabled its proposal for sustainable development, including labour and the environment and also discussed rules for trade facilitation, competition, energy and raw materials and others. As usual, the negotiators listened to presentations of stakeholders and civil society representatives and debriefed them on the progress of the talks.
The European Commission, in line with its enhanced transparency policy will publish an extensive progress report from the 11th round at the beginning of November.