Who would pay and who is to gain from the EU-US free trade agreement

Dan Mullaney, Chief US Negotiator (on the left) and Ignacio Garcia Bercero, Chief EU Negotiator held the third round of negotiations aimed at the establishment of a "Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership" (TTIP), in Washington from Monday 16 to Friday 20 December 2013. Bercero seems to say, ‘what did you expect that there will be no cost’? (EC Audiovisual Services, 16/12/2013).

Dan Mullaney, Chief US negotiator (on the left) and Ignacio Garcia Bercero, Chief EU negotiator held the third round of negotiations aimed at the establishment of a “Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership” (TTIP), in Washington from Monday 16 to Friday 20 December 2013. Bercero seems to say, ‘what did you expect that there will be no cost’? (EC Audiovisual Services, 16/12/2013).

Challenging the factual reality, that the ‘gains’ from the currently under negotiation EU-US trade agreement would come mainly from deregulation in the fields of health, safety, environment, financial and data security, the European chief negotiator Garcia Bercero insisted that: “the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is not and will not be a deregulation agenda”. He tried to convince the world that “neither side intended to lower its high standards of consumer, environment, health, labour or data protection, or limit its autonomy in setting regulations”.

Still the relevant Press release issued by the Commission states that, “Negotiators also had substantive discussions on regulations which protect people from risks to their health, safety, environment, financial and data security. Studies suggest up to 80% of the gains from any future EU-US trade deal would come from improvements in this area”. What kind of ‘improvements’ can deliver more trade than the abolishment of protective rules?

Given that the EU-US trade tariffs are presently on the average less than 4% , there is no other magical way to substantially increase trade between the two sides of the Atlantic, than dismantling internal regulations, for example in the field of marketing and cultivation of GMOs on European soil. Of course there won’t be outright abolition of such regulations but rather indirect liberalisation, like in the case of the GMO potato Amflora, the marketing of which was authorised by the Commission, but later on annulled by the General Court of the EU.

Negotiating what?

At this point it must be noted that negotiations between the two sides, for the swift conclusion of this TTIP between the EU and the US, are being conducted by ‘weekly’ rounds. Last week negotiators from the two sides met in Washington for the third weekly round, which was concluded yesterday. The EU and US teams also spent one of their five days together talking to over 50 stakeholders and answering questions from them. Unfortunately the Commission didn’t communicate any information on the focal points that those 50 stakeholders asked questions about.

According to the Commission “Negotiators made progress on the three core parts of the TTIP – market access, regulatory aspects and rules – and these will be the focus for the round of talks expected in March 2014”. It’s more than obvious that tariffs are the last subject the two sides are interested to cover. Actually all three areas of interest have a common denominator; internal rules. Market access, regulations and rules, all are issues related to internal legislation in connection with the functioning of markets on both sides of north Atlantic.

No wonder that 80% of the expected increase of the bilateral trade would come from the abolishment of such rules. For example safety and CO2 emission rules in the US automotive market constitute a major problem, increasing the cost of German cars sold in the United States. American concessions in this field would probably be exchanged with abrogation of EU rules on imports of US meat with hormones and the liberalisation of cultivation of GMOs on European Soil.

The next major issues in the EU-US economic relations universe are government procurement contracts, the opening up of services markets and making it easier to invest. Seemingly those issues have not yet been discussed in depth during this third weekly round of negotiations.

Gains and costs

According to Commission sources the end of this third round marks the conclusion of the initial phase of negotiations and paves the way for “EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht and US Trade Representative Ambassador Michael Froman to hold a political stocktaking meeting early in 2014”. The EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership aims at opening up trade and investment between the EU and the US, which together make up 40% of global economic output.

The TTIP is planned to produce more jobs and more growth on both sides. However nobody talks about costs. According to a study commissioned by the EU a comprehensive TTIP “could see EU exports to the US rise by over 25%, earning its exporters of goods and services an extra €190bn every year”. The question remains what will be the cost of that in terms of ‘reduction’ of health, consumer, labour and data protection regulations.

For one thing a lot of people in Europe insist that data protection should not be included in this TTIP. In any case it’s pretty clear that Germany is to gain the most out of this EU-US trade agreement, because this country is by far the largest European exporter to the United States. Other EU countries may even realise losses due to the facilitation of the American exports to the EU.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Can We(esterners) ever understand (the) Chinese

High-technology manufacturing saves the EU industry

IMF’s Lagarde indirectly cautioned Eurozone on deflation

Italy’s Letta: A European Banking Union soon or Eurozone collapses

Importance of teaching ethics in Brazilian Medical Schools

U-turns on Global Compact ‘reflect poorly’ on countries concerned: senior UN migration official

Libyan national conference postponed, nearly 500,000 children at ‘direct risk’ from fighting around Tripoli

Hundreds of thousands of lives still lost each year to small arms, UN conference hears

Saudi woman seeking asylum in Thailand ‘now in a secure place’ says UNHCR

An ageing workforce isn’t a burden. It’s an opportunity

De Gucht: More gaffes with the talks on the EU-US free trade agreement

Climate Change: A Healthcare Emergency

Amazon: our green is turning to ashes

Why the foundations of the modern world are costing the earth

These countries are best at attracting and nurturing talented workers

US-China trade war: Washington now wants control of the renminbi-yuan

Kellen Europe Hosts EuroConference 2016

Interview with ourselves: the mental health of health professionals

The EU approves a new package of budget assistance to the Republic of Moldova to support rule of law and rural development reforms

Brazil identifies a clear pathway for aligning its transfer pricing framework with the OECD standard

These are the cities with the biggest carbon footprints

34 million Americans know someone who died after being unable to pay for medical treatment

Ireland: prepare now for rising fiscal pressures, external risks

China confirms anti-state-subsidy investigation on EU wine imports

New UN-Syrian Action Plan signals an ‘important day’ for child protection, says UN envoy

Haiti stands ‘at the crossroads’ between peacekeeping, development – Bachelet urges strengthened ‘human rights protection’

FROM THE FIELD: Faces and Voices of Conflict

Nicaragua: MEPs condemn brutal repression and demand elections

Federalist EU ‘naively’ believes Washington shares her TTIP high fever

Stricter rules and tougher sanctions for market manipulation and financial fraud

Why feeding the planet doesn’t have to mean sacrificing our forests

France pushes UK to stay and Germany to pay

Belgium: keep up reforms to increase employment and productivity growth

AI has huge potential – but it won’t solve all our problems

UN climate panel says ‘unprecedented changes’ needed to limit global warming to 1.5°C

3 defining characteristics of youth-led social innovation

European Commission adopts new list of third countries with weak anti-money laundering and terrorist financing regimes

Actions not words: what was promised at the UN’s landmark climate summit?

UN chief welcomes resolution to 27-year-old disagreement over renaming the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Car bomb attack on National Police Academy in Colombia, ‘strongly condemned’ by UN

Donor countries set international standard for preventing sexual exploitation, abuse, and harassment in development sector

This tool shows you which cities will flood as ice sheets melt

FROM THE FIELD: Faces and Voices of Conflict

European Semester Winter Package: assessing Member States’ progress on economic and social priorities

3 charts that show how attitudes to climate science vary around the world

Guterres expresses ‘grave concern’ following explosion at large political rally for reform-minded Ethiopian Prime Minister

Why the world is not as globalized as you think

ECB asks for more subsidies to banks

These Harvard scientists think we’ll have to socially distance until 2022

Security Council extends mandate of UN Interim Force in Lebanon for a year

Permanent structured cooperation (PESCO) on the table of NATO Defense Ministers amid US concerns

Visa liberalisation: Commission reports on fulfilment of visa-free requirements by Western Balkans and Eastern Partnership countries

Brazil must immediately end threats to independence and capacity of law enforcement to fight corruption

We spend half our time at work in meetings – and that’s not necessarily a bad thing

As Alan Turing makes the £50 note, how do countries design their currencies?

How cocoa farming can help stop deforestation

Brexit mission impossible: Theresa May was so desperate that had to appoint Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary

These forms of exercise are best for your mental health

Sudan: Health challenges in the Sustainable Development Goals era

‘Critical’ window of opportunity closing fast in Iraq, Security Council hears

More Stings?


Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s