Daily Management Review

EU's Malmstrom says EU, U.S. Trade Deal Not Dead Yet


EU's Malmstrom says EU, U.S. Trade Deal Not Dead Yet
EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said that negotiations will continue with the new U.S. administration after November's elections and the much-debated trade deal between the European Union and the United States is not dead.
After resistance from Belgian local governments led to a last-minute blockade of the agreement which was seven years in the making, a similar agreement between the EU and Canada can finally be signed on Sunday.
With the concessions he managed to agree, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) was "dead and buried", Paul Magnette, the premier of Belgium's region of Wallonia who led opposition to the Canadian trade deal, told his parliament on Friday.
Malmstrom said that work would continue with the new U.S. administration and she disagreed with that assessment.
"TTIP is not dead, but TTIP is not yet an agreement. The U.S. election will naturally bring the negotiations to a pause and we will resume after with the new administration," she told reporters after a ceremony in Brussels, in which Belgium signed its addendum to the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with Canada.
The agreements will allow big business to challenge democratically elected governments across Europe and will lead to a 'race to the bottom' in labor, environmental and public health standards, say unions and protest groups who had held demonstrations parked by both TTIP and CETA agreements.
Both Washington and Brussels now recognize that the deal will not happen now even though both the sides were committed to sealing TTIP before President Barack Obama leaves office in January.
Demands to relaunch the TTIP with greater transparency, clearer goals and a different name after the U.S. presidential elections were made by some European politicians.
In making a deal with the United States, lessons from the Canadian negotiations would help, Malmstrom said.
"Some of the experiences, some of the procedures that we have experienced with CETA, will also be reflected in our work on TTIP," she said.
Both sides claim that new trade and investment opportunities for companies, big and small, and new jobs would be created by the The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) which is described as an ambitious and balanced trade and investment deal. While keeping the EU's high standards for consumer protection, social rights and environmental rules, for consumers, it will cut prices and widen choice, says the EU.

The negotiations cover three main areas.
Resulting in big savings for consumers and companies in Europe, the EU aims to lower or remove customs duties to the US. Especially those smaller companies who face complicated rules when wanting to export, the TTIP will also help Europe's firms.
While differing technical procedures can be costly, especially for smaller firms, the EU and US often share safety and quality levels – in car safety, engineering, medical devices, etc. While keeping the EU’s strict levels of protection for people and the environment, closer work between regulators would ease trade, the EU says while talking about the deal. And with new regulatory challenges in areas like electric cars or nanotechnology, encouraging regulators to share their expertise would help.
(Source:www.reuters.com & www.ec-europa.eu) 

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