TTIP 9th Round marked by American disappointment: Will some optimism save this trade agreement?

Press conference ahead of the ninth round of the EU/United States Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations. In the photo pointing the finger there is Mr Daniel Rosario, EC's Spokesperson for Agriculture and Rural Development; and Trade (EC Audiovisual Services, 17/04/2015).

Press conference ahead of the ninth round of the EU/United States Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations. In the photo pointing the finger there is Mr Daniel Rosario, EC’s Spokesperson for Agriculture and Rural Development; and Trade (EC Audiovisual Services, 17/04/2015).

The ninth round of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) talks between the United States and the European Union concluded last Friday in New York City. As said to reporters by EU Chief Negotiator Ignacio Garcia Bercero at the closing press conference, the delegations from the two sides discussed “all three pillars of the negotiations: market access, regulatory cooperation and rules”.

EU’s optimism

Mr. Bercero, who usually showcases optimism despite some growing scepticism, wrapped up the talks that began Monday 20th of April saying that “a significant step forward has been taken this week on energy and raw materials”. “Our teams have for the first time engaged extensively on all the elements that could be the subject of specific energy and raw materials provisions under this agreement,” Mr. Bercero explained to the reporters.

Progresses in Regulatory Cooperation

As also mentioned by Bercero, one of the key topic that were discussed during this “American” 9th round was the regulatory cooperation. “I would like to underline in particular the discussions that we have held this week on regulatory cooperation and rules”, he stressed; he also added that those were the areas where negotiators have been “specifically tasked to make as much progress as possible”, so as to prepare them for a “joint political review” after summer. The objective of regulatory cooperation is to basically align existing and future rules on both sides of the Atlantic in order to regulate requirements affecting trade or investments.

Importance of cooperation

Further, the chief EU negotiator, after having underlined the importance of the reinforcement of regulatory cooperation in areas of shared interest to bring significant benefits to “regulators, businesses and citizens across the Atlantic”, he then mentioned some the key areas that were covered during New York TTIP talks:  pharmaceutical, automotive and medical; topics where regulators have continued discussions to facilitate the approvals.

Dark clouds looming

As the Sting has recently reported, the gigantic trade agreement, which is believed to boost the EU economy by €120 billion and the US economy by €95 billion (respectively equal to 0.5% and 0.4% of GDP), is not going through one of its best moments, and Mr. Bercero’s optimism might not be enough to bring the passion back.

Indeed the latest TTIP-leak comes on the heels of protests against the mammoth trade deal ahead of the kick-off of the 9th round. Germany was a major protagonist, where thousands of people marched in Berlin, Munich and other German cities last Saturday in protest against the EU-US deal. Those protests come also in the wake of an alleged fall in support for Germany. A recent YouGov poll showed that 43 percent of Germans believe TTIP would be bad for the country, compared to 26 percent who see it as positive, as reported by Reuters.

Another TTIP-Leak case?

Discussions around regulatory cooperation too have been broadly anticipated by rumours during the entire previous week, as the European Commission’s latest proposal on that chapter first leaked to environmental international organisation Friends of the Earth and then published on Monday. The leaked document unchained critics and concerns from many organisations and groups, which have repeatedly proclaimed that according to many analysts the deal could put barriers in the way of all legislation.

Most prominent group affirm that the newest proposals by the Commission could be more harmful to public interest, because they might impose even more barriers to regulations, giving more power to groups of technocrats instead of legislators. “The Commission proposal […] creates a labyrinth of red tape for regulators […] that undermines their appetite to adopt legislation in the public interest,” said Paul de Clerck from Friends of the Earth Europe in a press statement released yesterday.

The American disappointment

But the “regulatory cooperation case” and last week’s heavy protests in Germany and Austria are not the only hot knots for the gigantic trade agreements at the morrow of New York City talks. As many TTIP backers feared in the last months there might be some kind of discomfort arising in the United States for the lack of commitment the EU is showing, according to many US media and analysts.

The question could have become even more structured and deep-rooted. The Office of the United States Trade Representative has recently published a note to express “disappointment” towards the EU for one of its latest moves. The fact concerns one of TTIP’s most thorny questions, the policy around GMOs and genetically-engineered food, which is now under discussion in the Old Continent amid wild protests.

The European option

The EU has reportedly proposed through its negotiators and officers to amend legislation on genetically-engineered food and feed approval process to allow EU countries to “ignore science-based safety and environmental determinations” made by the European Union – as the American note says – and “opt out” of imports of GM food and feed. Something many businessmen in starts and stripes didn’t really like.

Harsh words

“We are very disappointed by today’s announcement of a regulatory proposal that appears hard to reconcile with the EU’s international obligations”, United States Trade Representative Michael Forman declared in the official note. “Moreover, dividing the EU into 28 separate markets for the circulation of certain products seems at odds with the EU’s goal of deepening the internal market”.

The note then concludes with some clear-cut words. “At a time when the U.S. and the EU are working to create further opportunities for growth and jobs through the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, proposing this kind of trade restrictive action is not constructive”.

The proposal changes “nothing”

The question is worrisome, and it seems that Bercero knows it all. Actually he opened his speech at the press conference that wrapped up the 9th round mentioning the happening. “Let me start with a few clarifying words about the new Commission proposal on the authorisation of GMO’s for food and feed”, he said, before arguing that the proposal changes “nothing” about the role of the Commission in authorising GMOs for food and feed.

“The proposal gives the possibility for Member States to opt out for legitimate reasons unrelated to risks to human and animal health or the environment. The proposal is consistent with our international obligations”, he underlined, even though I’m not hundred percent sure this – together with some optimism – resulted to be convincing enough for American investors.

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

UN launches drive to highlight environmental cost of staying fashionable

Three ways batteries could power change in the world

Crucial medical supplies airlifted to north-east Syria to meet ‘desperate need’

‘Regional security and integration’ in Central Africa under threat, Security Council warned

Philanthropy is at a turning point. Here are 6 ways it could go

JADE Spring Meeting 2017 – day 3: JADE Academy trainings, networking session and gala dinner – Excellence Awards winners revealed

Nature is our strongest ally in ensuring global water security

Companies have a new skill to master – innovation

Digital: The EU must set the standards for regulating online platforms, say MEPs

Why cybersecurity matters more than ever during the coronavirus pandemic

Wednesday’s Daily Brief: Syrian detainees, Zimbabwe hunger crisis, Kabul attack, Mexico disappearances, new tech to feed the world

5 ways blockchain can transform the world of impact investing

A Valentine’s Special: we can never overdose on love

Australia’s record heatwave: From fainting tennis players to dead fish

China is sending science students to live with rural farmers – and crop yields are skyrocketing

UN chief appoints Luis Alfonso de Alba as Special Envoy for the 2019 Climate Summit

Long-term EU budget: Parliament wants safety net for beneficiaries

Yemen hospital airstrike under investigation amid resurgence of deadly cholera

UN chief welcomes G20 commitment to fight climate change

Statement by OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría on the outcome of COP 25

Growing up near green space is good for your mental health as an adult

Focus on EU’s external action and building our stronger inner core: von der Leyen at the Special European Council

What you need to know about the Sustainable Development Impact Summit

MWC 2016 LIVE: Under Armour learns from “robust community of data”

UN film festival encourages young people to promote peace, dialogue and empathy

How to rebuild trust and integrity in South Africa

EU Council approves visa-free travel for Ukraine and cement ties with Kiev

EU prepares a banking union amidst financial ruins

EU to host international donors’ conference for Albania to help with reconstruction after earthquake

UN chief urges top digital tech panel to come up with ‘bold, innovative ideas’ for an ‘inclusive’ future

Employment and Social Developments in Europe: 2018 review confirms positive trends but highlights challenges, in particular linked to automation and digitalisation

Parliament’s proposal to reinforce flagship programmes is worth 39 billion euros

‘No-deal’ Brexit preparedness: European Commission takes stock of preparations and provides practical guidance to ensure coordinated EU approach

China’s lead in the global solar race – at a glance

Want a fairer society? This economist says he has the answer

UN rights chief calls for release of hundreds abducted and abused in South Sudan

More than 90 per cent of Africa migrants would make perilous Europe journey again, despite the risks

Rule of law: First Annual Report on the Rule of Law situation across the European Union

One million facing food shortages, nutrition crisis after Mozambique cyclones: UNICEF

Civil society organisations disenchanted with “Youth Guarantee”

How has policy affected employment in small businesses in the US?

Financial services are changing. Here’s how

Why your next work meeting should be a ‘walk-and-talk’

World Youth Skills Day: What you need to know for 2020

Why are the Balkans’ political leaders meeting in Geneva this week?

The children’s continent: keeping up with Africa’s growth

Guterres underscores UN role in achieving a free, secure Internet

Office workers in these economies clock up the most extra hours

COP24: Huge untapped potential in greener construction, says UN environment agency

Three steps we must take to secure the future of our forests

European Agenda on Migration: Still fragile situation gives no cause for complacency

WHO working to save lives following powerful earthquake in Albania

The EU can afford to invest trillions in support of employment

How to create responsible supply chains in the age of globalization 4.0

Great Reset: What university entrepreneurship can bring to the post-COVID world

Civil protection: Parliament strengthens EU disaster response capability

Traditional finance is failing millennials. Here’s how investing needs to change

New Mozambique storm rips off roofs, brings lashing rain as aid response kicks in

My disability, my identity

Brussels Vs. Google: The €1 bn EU fine and the US response

More Stings?

Advertising

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