TTIP Round 8… and more to come
The latest Round (Round 8) of the negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) took place in Brussels from 2 to 6 February. As part of the discussions, both sides reviewed and clarified their initial tariff offers on agricultural market access. They intend to continue their discussion in the next round. The parties also focused on the so-called horizontal regulatory pillar, which consists in Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) issues (food safety and animal and plant health) and Regulatory Co-operation/Coherence and Transparency.
The EU submitted its text for a horizontal Regulatory Co-operation chapter, while on SPS, the negotiating parties discussed in detail the U.S. text proposal, tabled ahead of Round 8, and agreed to develop a consolidated text for the next round. The EU and U.S. textual proposals on SPS confirm that TTIP would not lower food safety standards or restrict each other’s right regulate. This has been a recurrent worry of TTIP opponents, who have campaigned heavily on that basis, despite the Commission’s guarantee that EU standards were simply non-negotiable.
This is why FoodDrinkEurope supports the negotiations for an ambitious TTIP agreement that takes into account the priorities of Europe’s food and drink industry. Our industry, the largest manufacturing sector and employer in the EU, accounts for some 286,000 companies, 99% of which are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). TTIP would clearly offer substantial new possibilities of development for our industry, and particularly for these SMEs. FoodDrinkEurope therefore calls for an ambitious deal which will make it easier for European food and drink manufacturers to trade with the U.S. We however will not compromise on maintaining the high EU standards of consumer, environment and health protection.
We should not forget that the US is the first destination for European food and drink products, with exports close to €14 billion in 2013. However, despite the large positive EU trade balance, a decline in EU market share in the US was recorded in recent years, from 26% in 2001 down to 23% in 2010. The TTIP agreement is a chance to reverse this trend, to contribute to the sector’s competitiveness and boost innovation, and help to create jobs and growth. FoodDrinkEurope therefore looks forward to the next negotiating round, to take place in April, in Washington D.C.