TTIP – into the first year
The Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations are currently dominating EU political debate, receiving much attention in Member States and in the context of the forthcoming European Elections. After an energetic start and initial enthusiasm over the possible economic benefits of the deal, the talks are now encountering serious obstacles, ranging from diverging negotiation positions to growing public opposition. On the occasion of the 26 March EU-US summit which sees President Obama visit Brussels, this snapshot provides an update on the state of play and analysis of the main obstacles on the road to reaching a TTIP.
TTIP is widely described as the most far reaching trade and investment agreement to date: in contrast to most existing free trade agreements, TTIP is not only about tariff reduction, but at its centre lies the idea of enhanced regulatory cooperation and convergence that in some instances can lead to equivalence of regulation or even mutual recognition. In view of the low level of existing tariffs between the EU and the US, regulatory cooperation is the area expected to have the biggest impact on growth and jobs. On the other hand, as discussed in our June 2013 Snapshot, this makes the negotiations more challenging. Regulators do not necessarily rank free trade as a top priority, and there are concerns that a compromise trade agreement will necessarily erode regulatory standards.