TTIP is not dead as of yet, the 15th round of negotiations in New York shouts

ttip-eu-usa-free-trade

A reasonable and balanced Free Trade Agreement with the US The sixth priority of the Juncker Commission for the EU is a reasonable and balanced Free Trade Agreement with the US. Negotiations for transatlantic trade and investment partnership (TTIP). © European Union , 2016 / Source: EC – Audiovisual Service / Photo: Cristof Echard

Despite the huge protests and the many critics of the past two months, the 15th round of TTIP negotiations took place as planned last week in New York City. With the American elections getting closer and a growing scepticism in the local European parliaments, many saw the EU-US trade deal as almost dead. Now it seems the two sides are determined to reverse the trend in a last attempt to save the deal and negotiators said it loud: “negotiations will continue”.

“We came to New York with one objective – to make as much progress as possible in our trade talks with the US”, EU’s Chief TTIP Negotiator Ignacio Garcia Bercero said immediately at the beginning of the final press conference of NYC meetings. “The reasons to continue these talks are as strong as three years ago when we started negotiating this biggest bilateral trade agreement in the world”, added Mr. Bercero. But this didn’t seem that obvious just few days ago.

The background

The last twelve weeks have been a never-ending succession of events for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. After having significantly lost support from Germany and France, with Economy Minister and Minister for Foreign Trade respectively calling for an end of the talks, the TTIP found itself on the brink of collapse. Huge protests with hundreds of thousands flooding the streets in major European cities carried more pessimism around the proposed EU-US deal.

Then the trade ministers from twelve EU countries openly asked to EU’s trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström to save the deal and to throw support behind it, and thus the TTIP project seemed to regain some momentum. Despite that, Commissioner Malmström also admitted her doubts and that the chances to conclude negotiations before the end of the year looked increasingly “unlikely”. New York’s 15th round of negotiations became crucial ever since.

All eyes on NYC

According to Mr. Bercero and his American counterpart Dan Mullaney, the outcome of latest TTIP talks round was positive. “Our teams have worked extremely hard and have made significant progress in a number of areas”, underscored the EU Chief Negotiator Bercero. “The negotiators have spent a lot of time discussing the regulatory area, including regulatory coherence, technical barriers to trade, plants and animals health (SPS) and the nine specific sectors identified for cooperation before the talks has begun”,  he continued.

The nine sectors Mr. Bercero mentioned in his speech represent indeed a very hot open topic, as they affect the most sensible areas of the negotiations. The nine sectors are: cars, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, cosmetics, ICT, pesticide, engineering, medical devices and textiles. Earlier this year, the European Consumer Organisation, BEUC, raised concerns over the risks of TTIP increasing consumer exposure to toxic chemicals. According to BEUC, the EU’s chemical risks control system could be potentially weakened by “the nature and scope of the transatlantic trade deal” itself, as the European Sting reported back in February. “Progress in some of those sectors is very encouraging”, Mr. Bercero declared.

The progress

“Progress” was indeed the key word of New York City’s TTIP session, according to what US Chief TTIP Negotiator Dan Mullaney declared at the wrap up conference. “We have made excellent progress over the past few days”, he pointed last Friday. “We have heard some skeptical voices about TTIP lately, but I want to emphasize that the United States remains fully engaged in these negotiations and is as committed as ever to their success”, Mr. Mullaney also declared. “We remain ready to move forward on an agreement that is in our mutual economic interest”, he added.

Merkel’s support

New York TTIP talks round apparently helped the EU-US trade pact to win back the support from German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who showcased a renewed interest towards the free trade deal last week. Chancellor Merkel said the EU and the US should continue to negotiate the TTIP “as long as possible”, as reported by Reuters, despite opposition in many European countries. “We are still continuing the discussions about TTIP and I think we should continue them as long as possible”, Merkel told a meeting of the German BGA trade body on Wednesday. “We will never fall below the standards set by the European Union”, she said.

US election knot

German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel still looks very cautious though. Mr. Gabriel told the BGA trade group he did not believe the TTIP trade talks could be completed this year. “I expect that we’ll need a new start after the US president election”, Gabriel said. What’s still not clear is more in general TTIP’s future with a new US administration in place. Both Democrat front runner Hillary Clinton and Republican candidate Donald Trump signalled very poor support to huge trade agreements like Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and of course the TTIP. Mr. Trump has strongly condemned both deals as “job-killers” and Mrs. Clinton has repeatedly voiced an end to America’s “unconditional support for global free trade”, which would allegedly undermine the jobs of American workers.

A radical change

All in all, if it’s any true that the TTIP is not yet dead, it is also true that many things have changed around the gigantic EU-US trade deal. Despite the optimism of both chief trade negotiators, none of them could deny last Friday that they have formally given up on the idea of concluding TTIP talks this year under Obama administration.

Mr. Mullaney said both sides aim to continue to make progress in the coming months, but also admitted all parties expect TTIP negotiations to be halted in 2017 primarily due to the United States elections. US negotiator Mullaney indeed said there could be still “so much” the two sides can accomplish in the remaining time of the Obama administration, but never mentioned concrete achievements and deadlines. This basically says there is no concrete timeline on how EU and US sides will use the remaining months of the Obama era.

The trade ministers of the European Union are planning to meet once more to discuss TTIP during a Council meeting on November 11, which will be just three days after the US presidential elections, according to EU negotiator Bercero. They will advise on the way forward after then. “In the meantime, the EU’s head of states at European Council should also be able to have a discussion on trade issues, including on the state of play of the negotiations with the United States”, stressed Mr. Bercero.

No date was set for a new round of negotiations yet though.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Featured Stings

The German banks first to profit from public subsidies of trillions

JADE Romania Celebrates the 4th Anniversary

Is the West gradually losing Africa?

Can the national and age groups pockets of unemployment cause irreparable damages to Eurozone?

Europe led by Germany seems vulnerable to Trump’s threats

Joris in Indonesia

Did Draghi ask the Germans to accept a drastic change of austerity policies?

Brazil’s hopeless future of science

Eurozone’s central bank leadership prepares for shoddier prospects

The West and Russia impose a new order on the world

How much more political is the new EU leadership? Does this include personal bend?

US prosecutors now target Volkswagen’s top management, upsetting Germany

Global Citizen-Volunteer Internships

October’s EU strong digital mix: From Safe Harbour to Net Neutrality, Roaming and Snowden

EU Council agrees to reform the system for motor vehicles but with “restricted” power for the Commission

The British “nonsense”, the relaxed Commissioner and the TTIP “chiaroscuro” at this week’s Council

ECB’s first flight in Eurozone’s banking universe will be just a reconnaissance

EU to spend €6 billion on youth employment and training futile schemes

Horse meat runs faster than authorities…

Higher education becoming again a privilege of the wealthy?

Access to health in the developping world

Migration crisis will keep deteriorating as common EU political will is simply not there

Why banks escape from competition rules but not pharmaceutical firms

Bugged Europe accepts US demands and blocks Morales plane

Preparing for developing countries the ‘Greek cure’

ECB: Euro area should smooth out the consumption and income shocks of its members

Russia to cut gas supplies again: can the EU get back to growth without a solid energy market?

Fostering intergenerational solidarity and cooperation through age-friendly environments: the right answer to Europe’s demographic challenge

When will Eurozone’s unemployment rate stop being Europe’s worst nightmare?

TTIP’s 11th round starts in Miami but EU-US businesses see no sunny side

My ‘’cultural’’ contacts with China

The migration crisis is slowly melting the entire EU edifice

Commission presents far-reaching anti-tax evasion measures

The European Internet is not neutral and neither is the Commissioner

China Unlimited Special Report: The trip to China

Biggest London City Banks ready to move core European operations to Frankfurt or Dublin?

Social Committee slams the 28 EU leaders for false promises

Do academia and banks favour a new Middle Ages period?

Greece will probably stay in the Eurozone but at what cost?

The ASEAN Community sees the light: the genesis of a new powerful economic and political bloc and EU’s big opportunity

OECD: Mind the financial gap that lies ahead

COP21 Paris agreement: a non legally-binding climate pact won’t stop effectively global warming while EU’s Cañete throws hardest part to next Commission

The “Colombo Declaration” adopted at the World Conference on Youth 2014

IMF to teach Germany a Greek lesson

If Macron defies Britain about the banks, Paris and London to clash over ‘La Manche’

The importance of collaboration in the digital economy

YO!Fest back in Strasbourg for the 2nd edition of the European Youth Event – 20-21 May 2016

UN Human Rights Council resolution on youth and human rights: a step forward for youth rights

Germany rules the banking industry of Eurozone

G20: Less growth, more austerity for developing countries

Rehn very reserved about growth in Eurozone

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: “European unity and cooperation is being called on question”, Vice President Joe Biden criticizes from Davos

Why do medical students need to emigrate to become doctors in 2017?

India’s Largest Entrepreneurship Event is Back! (23-24th August 2016)

The Catcher in the Rice

Facebook wins EU approval for WhatsApp acquisition; just a sign of the times

The financial sector cripples Eurozone growth prospects

China in My Suburbs

A Sting Exclusive: “On the road to Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement”, by Ambassador Katakami of the Japanese Mission to the European Union

Jeroen Dijsselbloem new Eurogroup president

More Stings?

Trackbacks

  1. […] same factors are holding back both deals; both sides are not able to reach a consensus of what currently protected sectors they would open up, and in what way. Because the deals have not […]

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 )

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s