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TTIP Negotiations Make Steady Progress

Negotiations between the US and the European Union (EU) made progress recently as representatives of both economies continued to hammer out an agreement in what has been characterized as the biggest bilateral trade and investment pact ever proposed.

Once concluded, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is expected to significantly stimulate the transatlantic economy, providing jobs and economic growth for both participants.

Generally, the objectives of the agreement are to liberalize already modest tariff restrictions, ease barriers to trade, and  increase reciprocal investment.  Also under discussion were plans to eliminate unnecessary governmental rules and bureaucratic red tape.

Together, the US and EU comprise about 40 percent of global economic output and their bilateral trade is the world’s largest.

Chief EU negotiator Ignacio Garcia-Bercero said the talks were “productive” and included the full range of topics that needed to be discussed.  A second round of talks are scheduled for October in Brussels.

Also on the agenda were discussions of market access for agricultural products and manufactured goods, government procurement, energy, investment, commodities and raw materials, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, intellectual property rights, sustainability issues, dispute settlement, customs and trade facilitation, state-owned business and a range of regulatory issues.

The views of some 350 stakeholders from academia, non-governmental organizations, private enterprise, and trade unions were taken into account as negotiations proceeded.

Although disagreements have arisen among these groups, negotiators worked diligently to find solutions to the disputed issues.

The TTIP pact is expected to be concluded and implemented in two years, boosting the EU economy by an estimated 119 billion Euros annually, and the US economy by 95 billion Euros annually.