Thirteenth negotiation round, 25 to 29 April in New York

The thirteenth negotiation round on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership took place from April 25 to 29 in New York. At the same time, U.S. President Barack Obama and members of his government, notably Secretary of Commerce, Penny Pritzker, advocated at the Hannover fair in favor of an ambitious agreement and a conclusion of the negotiations by the end of the year.

The thirteenth negotiation round covered all three pillars (market access, regulatory cooperation, and rules) of the planned agreement and focused on regulatory cooperation. This issue was also a central topic in the preceding negotiation round. The constructive discussions during the Hannover Fair backed the negotiations in New York politically. BDI, too, participated in the debates and handed over a joint declaration on TTIP of BDI and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to EU Commissioner Cecilia Malmström, the United States Trade Representative Michael Froman, and Secretary Penny Pritzker.

Details from the 13th negotiation round

Market access:

  • Tariffs: More than 90 percent of the industrial tariffs should be removed on the day the agreement enters into force. However, transition periods for sensible custom tariff positions are possible.

  • Public procurement: In the field of public procurement, the negotiating parties started to consolidate their proposals. The EU Commission highlighted the importance of better access to U.S. procurement markets – notably at the sub-federal level – for European companies. Additionally, the aim is to enhance transparency in procurement processes and to facilitate the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises. However, significant gaps remain on this issue. The EU insists on an improvement of the U.S. offer. The United States, however, does not seem to be ready to open public procurement processes at the federal level.

Regulatory cooperation:

  • Regulatory cooperation and good regulatory practices: According to the EU Commission, the negotiators made significant progress in consolidating the texts in this area.

  • Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT): Both sides confirmed their goal to create a strong TBT Committee, which is supposed to implement the provisions of this chapter. Furthermore, the EU and the United States are discussing conformity assessments with the aim of facilitating testing procedures.

  • Sanitary and phytosanitary standards: Negotiations in this field covered import controls, certification processes and the creation of a committee structure.

  • Sector-specific negotiations: In the sector-specific negotiations, the EU Commission tabled its proposal on pharmaceuticals and intends to present further sector-specific proposals prior to the next negotiation round in July. Progress was furthermore made in the following sectors:

    Textiles: The EU and the United States discussed the structure of the future textual proposal on textiles. The negotiating partners identified areas of possible cooperation when it comes to labelling textiles, security provisions, and market-based standards. These include flammability testing and care labelling of textiles, among other issues.

    Cars: Intensive discussions focused on the equivalence and harmonization of security provisions. The aim was to prepare a preliminary categorization for a number of existing safety regulations.

    Medical devices: The United States tabled their proposal. Discussions in this sector covered the Medical Device Single Audit Program and the Unique Device Identification. o Information and communication technology (ICT): In some fields, such as specific absorption rates, negotiators discussed steps aimed at facilitating the regulatory dialogue between the EU and the United States.

    Chemicals: Discussions on the classification and labelling of substances and on a facilitated data exchange between the regulatory authorities were of particular importance in this sector.

    Pesticides: The EU and the United States explored possibilities of cooperation, for example regarding of the exchange of information on crop groupings.

Rules

Progress in this area was achieved with regard to the SME chapter, where negotiations took place on the basis of a consolidated text. Further emphasis laid on the chapters on sustainability, trade with energy and raw materials, customs and trade facilitation, intellectual property rights and competition. Furthermore, investment protection and state-to-state dispute settlement were intensively discussed. The EU and the United States have similar positions on the investment protection provisions. However, no substantial progress was made regarding the investment court system which the EU proposed.

The summary by the EU Commission of the 13th negotiation round can be found here.

The statement by the EU Chief Negotiator, Ignacio Garcia Bercero, can be found here.