EU-US Trade Pact Defended by Its Chief Negotiator

Written by | Friday, February 14th, 2014

During his visit to Berlin on February 10-11, Brussels’ chief negotiator of the EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), Ignacio Garcia Bercero, defended the agreement and stressed its benefits for the block’s strongest economy – Germany. As he pointed out, the country is already today United States‘ most important trade partner from all EU member states.
Mr Garcia Bercero visited Berlin along with the head of the directorate-general in the European Commission ahead of the fourth round of TTIP talks planned for March. The two met with representatives of the German federal government, regional governments, and civil society to discuss the current state of negotiations and the direction of the upcoming talks. On this occasion, the chief negotiator ensured EU lawmakers that TTIP would not imply lowering of EU standards in customer protection and related issues.
As a result, in contrast to what opponents say, strict EU consumer protection standards – such as the ban on hormone treated meat – will not be threatened. Moreover, Mr Garcia added that other public services, such as water supply, will not be influenced by the deal.
Trade relations between Berlin and Washington are among the most significant trade links included in TTIP. Two years ago, the volume of mutual trade was almost 160 billion USD. Even though tariffs between the US and the EU are relatively small, due to the gigantic volume of the mutual trade – about 2 billion USD daily – major savings are still possible to be made. Therefore, even tiny unburdening in the exchange of goods and deregulation of barriers could help boost growth.
Mr Garcia also mentioned that regulations would not be eroded by TTIP talks. For instance, the EU regulation of chemicals – REACH – is much stricter than its equivalent in the US. The chief negotiator concluded that in case Washington and Brussels find significant variation in views over the objectives of their mutual regulations, then these will stay unaffected by the deal.

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