SMEs and Digital Economy Dominating TTIP Talks

Written by | Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

The EU and US negotiators will consider including a chapter devoted to the digital economy into the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) as they have done for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Both Washington and Brussels are analysing whether the digital economy is better to deal with across a number of chapters on different sectors or in one stand-alone section. One chapter will be definitely devoted to SMEs since there is also a dedicated negotiating group for the SME-related issues. There has reportedly been a significant progress made towards a text agreed by both sides during the sixth round of talks that took place in Brussels last week.

The US has allegedly dispatched fact-finding teams to Austria, Germany, and Luxembourg during the sixth round. The team should meet with thriving SMEs to discuss what their expectations are regarding what issues they want the TTIP negotiators to address in the landmark deal. It is expected that the focus will remain on removing barriers to market access on both sides of the Atlantic. Much of the attention is put on satisfying SMEs as they are often conceived of as the backbone of the economy. Digital industry would like to see a similar level of attention. Although detailed discussions were not on the agenda, negotiators focused on professional services including auditors, architects, and accountants. Some sources suggest that both the EU and US are open to having a ”digital chapter” in the TTIP. The EU’s motivation is high as it sees the digital economy as the major contributor to job creation and growth in the economy.

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