EU - US Free Trade Agreement: A Sectoral Overview
The negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) are likely to start in July. The latest draft of the EU negotiating mandate gives clear indications what the focus from an EU point of view will be. However, many interest groups are leveraging their influence and as the negotiations draw nearer the number of potential stumbling blocks increases.
Across the political spectrum, on both sides of the Atlantic hopes are high that a comprehensive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Agreement (TTIP) can give an important stimulus for economic growth. Estimates range from 0.5%-1.5%, and the total economic gains could be as much as $200 billion and a potential creation of 400.000 jobs. The EU-US High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth (HLWG) therefore scoped out a very ambitious report in February 2013, recommending to include not only tariff reduction but also regulatory cooperation, nontariff barriers, investment, public procurement and intellectual property in the negotiations. This was confirmed by the latest draft of the negotiating mandate dated 21 May that is currently being discussed between the Member States and the European Commission. Many key sectors such as automotive, chemical, pharmaceutical and financial services would benefit from the trade and investment agreement. However, differences in food safety, GMOs, the precautionary principle, data protection, public procurement and geographic indications (an EU tool that identifies a product’s place of origin) will be hard to overcome.