Third Round of TTIP Talks Kicked Off

Written by | Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

The United States and European Union have launched a third round of trade negotiations on the mutual trade agreement – the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) – in Washington. The new round aims to provide a foundation to a mighty free-trade bloc to create jobs and boost economic growth as part of a forward-looking agenda on trade, investment, regulatory cooperation, and intellectual property rights. The TTIP also seeks to enhance and strengthen the transatlantic strategic cooperation.
Although both parties already enjoy a regime of very low tariffs, their goal is to reduce and eventually eliminate non-tariff trade measures in order to boost start-ups and job creation. The US-EU partnership already employs about 13 million people on both sides of the Atlantic despite the fact that both sides have been facing unusually high unemployment since the onset of the crisis in 2008.
The newly opened trade round is headed by EU chief negotiator, Ignacio Garcia Bercero, and his US counterpart, Dan Mullaney, who must tackle a wide array of problematic issues. At stake are many issues, ranging from agriculture, through aviation safety to the regulation of financial markets. Europeans are pushing the Americans into a more harmonized regulatory framework since they find it important that standards be established in as coordinated manner as possible. Americans might agree but they generally think that finance should be dealt with outside the trade agreement.
Moreover, the negotiators have already discussed energy, in particular gas imports, with the EU trying to ensure legal framework with no restrictions on exports from the United States to the EU. The US currently has a licensing regime for energy exports, but the gas that is produced by America’s shale-gas revolution potentially gives Washington a large competitive advantage.
According to the EU’s forecasts, the TTIP deal should yield annual benefits of 119 billion euros for EU’s 28 member states, and about the same amount for the United States. Both sides hope to finalize the agreement by as early as late 2014.

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