A possible free trade agreement between the 28-member European Union and the USA has been mooted for a number of years, but also mired in disagreements between the two parties. By now, however, at a time when governments are desperate to salvage jobs and get out of recession, there are indications of substantive moves towards negotiating a far-reaching deal covering trade and investment.
At the EU-US Summit in November 2011, a High-Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth was launched as a forum to discuss how they could further integrate their trade relationship, with the option of launching an FTA. Enthusiasm to commence negotiations on such an agreement has seemed higher among EU politicians than in the US, where a response has been somewhat muted.
According to a June 2012 Interim Report to Leaders from the Co-Chairs of the High Level Working Group, such talks should seek to conclude a proposal for a comprehensive transatlantic agreement including chapters on intellectual property, services, investment, procurement, regulatory issues and non-tariff barriers, including an SPS-plus chapter (sanitary and phytosanitary measures) and a TBT-plus chapter (technical barriers to trade), and tariffs.
In November 2012, the TransAtlantic Business Dialogue (now TransAtlantic Business Council), a coalition of CEOs from US and European businesses, mainly transnational corporations, co-signed a letter to EU and US leaders urging a “quick launch of negotiations toward an ambitious and comprehensive transatlantic trade and investment agreement”.
In December 2012, a coalition of 60 US food and agricultural organisations sent a letter to the office of the US Trade Representative urging that agriculture be included in the agreement and pushing back at EU regulatory measures on genetically modified crop approval and labels, and the use of pesticides, for example.
As of early 2013, European leaders are getting more and more vocal about the need to get negotiations started.
If concluded, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership would be the world’s biggest FTA. According to the European Commission, the EU and US economies account together for around half the entire world GDP and for nearly a third of world trade flows. Total US investment in the EU is three times higher than in all of Asia. EU investment in the US is around eight times the amount of EU investment in India and China together. Approximately a third of transatlantic trade is estimated to consist of intra-company transfers.
EU-US trade talks in ’troubled waters’ | 23-January-2015
EU-US trade talks are “in troubled waters” and need a “fresh start for parliament to approve an agreement”, the chairman of the assembly’s international trade committee has said.
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German Development Minister Gerd Müller counters criticism of TTIP with study on how it will impact developing and newly industrialised countries
Government urged to protect interests of UK poultry farmers | 21-January-2015
The competitiveness of UK poultry producers is at risk if the EU-US trade negotiations proceed on the basis that products are of an ’equivalent’ standard.
PKS demands that agro-food sector should be excluded from TTIP | 21-January-2015
The Slovak Food Chamber (PKS) demands that the entire agro-food sector should be excluded from the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the European Union (EU) and the USA from the very beginning
‘We are fed up!’:Thousands march against TTIP & GMOs in Berlin | 19-January-2015
A broad alliance of farmers, ethical consumers, and anti-capitalist activists staged a march through Berlin that numbered up to 50,000, to denounce the proposed TTIP treaty between the US and EU, and mass farming technologies.
Naissance d’un front franco-allemand contre l’arbitrage dans le cadre du TTIP | 15-January-2015
Paris et Berlin ne veulent pas d’un mécanisme de règlement des différends en l’état au sein du traité transatlantique (TTIP) et négocient des propositions communes pour faire évoluer le dispositif.
France and Germany to form united front against ISDS | 15-January-2015
The two countries are discussing throwing their combined weight behind a common position to exclude an Investor State Dispute Settlement mechanism from trade talks with the US
El TTIP, un peligro para los animales | 14-January-2015
El Tratado de Libre Comercio entre la Unión Europea y EEUU (TTIP) ajustará a la baja la ya insuficiente protección de los animales en su crianza, transporte y sacrificio en Europa, al facilitar la entrada de productos estadounidenses que no garantizan la protección animal básica.
Europeans don’t want investor state dispute settlement in trade agreements | 14-January-2015
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The European Ombudsman says the Commission must do more to "increase the legitimacy of the TTIP negotiations in the eyes of the public".
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OGM : Le marché de dupes de l’Union européenne | 15-Jan-2015
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