Alberto Alemanno (Swedish Institute for European Policy Studies)
Since 2013, the EU and the US have been in intense talks about how to simplify trade between both sides in a way that would boost economic growth. The result is the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which is considered a highly anticipated agreement with a significant impact on both continents. A successful finalizing of the deal would give rise to the largest free trade area in the world with 800 million people who constitute potential consumers.
The TTIP deal will include a chapter establishing a mechanism for setting further joint measures. This should also include the so-called “horizontal chapter”, which will set the way how bilateral negotiations about other regulatory measures will be conducted. In this case, intensive cooperation between both sides will be crucial, whereby there will be a strong preference for the use of existing or planned regulations. Furthermore, mutual recognition or simplification of valid regulations will be applied on the harmonization of regulatory measures. The very fact that the EU’s and US’ goal is to create a certain permanent mechanism for the implementation of new rules is rather unusual, albeit ambitious, in the case of a deal like the TTIP.
To ensure proper functioning of the TTIP, there is a need for such an institutional structure that would perform all operations under one umbrella. Negotiations regarding its exact nature and shape are not yet finalized but its institutional form is already obvious. Most probably, the Regulatory Cooperation Body (RCB) will be the main institution whose powers will consist of supervising the horizontal chapter. The RCB should also, among others, communicate with the Joint Ministerial Body, which should be an institution with the decision-making authority within the TTIP. Generally speaking, the role of both institutions will be mostly to ensure transparency and credibility.
(The study can be downloaded here: http://www.sieps.se/en/publications/european-policy-analysis/the-regulatory-cooperation-chapter-of-the-ttip-challenges-and)