The 11th round of TTIP talks focused on tariffs, market access for services, regulatory cooperation, talks on a sustainability chapter, and the details of a chapter on small and medium-sized enterprises. Talks on an investment protection chapter with an investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism did not take place at this round as the European Commission’s new proposal had not yet been officially presented to the U.S. side.
During the negotiations, business, civil society and academic stakeholders again had the opportunity to submit statements and discuss their positions with the negotiating teams.
Results of the 11th round
- Tariffs: The two sides presented revised proposals under which 97 percent of all tariffs in the transatlantic market would be abolished. For 87.5 percent of tariffs this would occur immediately when the agreement comes into force; for the remaining tariffs transitional pe-riods are planned.
- Rules of origin: The parties discussed proposals for product-specific rules of origin.
- Services: The negotiating teams made progress on the mutual recognition of professional qualifications for architects, lawyers, and auditors. Mutual recognition is to be negotiated on a profes-sion-by-profession basis.
- Regulatory cooperation: The parties discussed mutual recognition of conformity assessment bodies, which would enable a body accredited in the EU to certify a product’s conformity with U.S. regulations and vice versa. Discussions also continued in the sectoral negotiating groups. In the area of pharmaceuticals, a joint proposal on mutual recognition of good manufacturing practice will be presented in the coming months. In the automobile sector the possibility of harmonizing standards or recognizing equivalence was discussed, for example in the area of seatbelts.
- Public procurement: In this area, which is crucial for European industry, the talks made no recognizable progress. The focus is currently on barriers to market access at the federal U.S. level, rather than at state level.
- Sustainability: For this round the European Commission made – and published – a new proposal for an ambitious sustainability chapter. It proposes that the parties agree to observe high labour and environmental standards, especially the ILO core labour standards and the right to collective bargaining. An enforcement mechanism was not discussed.
- Small and medium-sized enterprises: The European Union and the United States agreed to make transatlantic trade requirements that are relevant for SMEs more transparent, and to publicize them in a user-friendly form. The EU proposes a one-stop-shop. An SME Committee is also planned, to ensure that the agreement is implemented in a user-friendly form.
- Energy: The European Union and the United States discussed sim-plifications for trade and investment in the field of energy and energy efficiency. Disagreement remains over whether TTIP should have its own energy chapter. Whereas the European Commission proposes an energy chapter, the United States suggests regulating energy-relevant issues in the chapters on market access and trade rules, respectively.
- Intellectual property: The discussions centred on the protection of geographical indications, as well as patent and copyright matters. The EU emphasized that it places high priority on the protection of geographical indications. In the field of copyright, the implementa-tion of existing agreements was discussed.
- The next round of talks is planned for February 2016.
- Both sides hope to conclude the talks before U.S. President Barack Obama leaves office, but regard this as an ambitious goal