As it was the case in previous rounds, regulatory cooperation was also one of the main topics in the sixth round of negotiations. Through involvement of the regulatory authorities, the discussion parties tried to create the technical foundation of the agreement. It was discussed, among other things, how a closer cooperation between the transatlantic partners with respect to conformity assessments and also sanitary and phytosanitary standards might look like in the future. Facing the ever-growing importance of the digital economy, it was furthermore discussed whether TTIP should include a chapter that solely focuses on e-commerce.
What was the outcome?
- After the United States had already tabled an offer on services previous to this round, the EU now also submitted an offer on market access for services. The offer seeks to ensure that sensitive areas such as services of general interest or audiovisual services are excluded. Furthermore, the EU made an effort to secure a non-discriminatory treatment of EU enterprises on the level of individual U.S. states.
- EU Trade Commissioner De Gucht stressed that certain food products need to be excluded from tariff reductions due to their sensibility.
- Further achievements were obtained with regard to regulatory cooperation in the automotive sector. The EU and U.S. regulatory agencies made progress in evaluating the respective security rules and agreed on carrying out further tests.
- In addition, the sectors textiles, chemicals, pharmaceutical products, cosmetics, medical equipment, information and communication technology, mechanical engineering, and pesticides were discussed. The negotiators of the sectoral groups are – for the most part – still presenting their regulatory systems to each other.
- In the field of energy and resources both sides also continued to compare their regulatory frameworks. During this round the negotiators specifically discussed risk management and security issues concerning offshore production.
- Shortly before the sixth round, the EU and the United States had exchanged texts for the competition chapter and specifically on the treatment of state-owned enterprises. These texts were then discussed in the course of the sixth round.
How were interest representatives and stakeholders involved?
As in previous rounds, the EU Commission organized a meeting with stakeholders, which took place on July 6. Around 400 representatives from civil society, industry associations, labor unions, and consumer and environmental protection groups participated and had the opportunity to present their positions to the negotiators. During the following “Stakeholder Briefing” the two lead negotiators, Ignacio García Bercero and Dan Mullaney, addressed some proposals in more detail and exchanged positions with the stakeholders present. Especially small and medium-sized businesses were addressed during this exchange.
The Federation of German Industries (BDI) also took part in the stakeholder meeting and presented its priorities regarding investment protection. The corresponding statement is provided here.
The seventh round of negotiations will take place at the end of September / beginning of October in the USA.