Brussels, 30 September 2013
Statement by EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) ahead of the second round of negotiations
"Today, I met with United States Trade Representative Ambassador Michael Froman to discuss next week's second round of negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) which will take place in Brussels.
As we have stated before, both sides agree that TTIP is more than a traditional trade agreement. Our main ambition - beyond simply reducing tariffs across the board - is to make the EU and the US regulatory systems more compatible and to help shape global rules in trade since this is where the economic and political benefits of a deal lie.
Throughout this process, I will be pressing for an ambitious outcome on a number of key issues in the interests of the EU and ultimately both sides.
I would like to see a set of horizontal rules to guide regulatory co-operation – and what I mean by that is we should ultimately strive for the mutual recognition of our regulations across a broad range of sectors. In my mind, this is the most efficient way to connect our two systems to allow our businesses to operate more effectively across the Atlantic.
I know we can achieve this because in many ways Europe has 'been there, seen that and done that' in its early preparations during the 1980s for a Single Market. Of course, neither side has the ambition to go that far but our aim should still be to progressively build a more integrated transatlantic marketplace.
I also hope Europe's past experience and success in tackling such issues between our own Member States will also reassure critics who claim TTIP will water down Europe's current set of rules and regulations. The reality is that over the last decades, Europe has seen its standards rise to a level of global excellence and leadership. And it's on this basis that both sides agree to use such a transformative process to raise their game. So, whether we are looking at food safety, financial services such as the regulation of derivatives or standards for electric cars, we need to establish the rules and institutions that ensure this effective regulatory cooperation.
In this respect, ensuring joint transatlantic leadership in the development of global norms and standards goes hand in hand with building progressively a more integrated transatlantic marketplace. Critically these rules and institutions would not be credible if we fail to deliver the concrete and measurable reduction in costs for business through mutual recognition or by other means to avoid the unnecessary duplication of regulatory costs.
I intend to remain actively engaged to guide negotiators towards an ambitious outcome. The October and December negotiation rounds should establish the common foundations for an ambitious and genuinely transformative TTIP.
Together with Ambassador Froman, I will encourage negotiators to be creative with the aim to present a commonly agreed outline of the regulatory and rules component of TTIP for political review in January 2014. On that basis, the political guidance can be given to try to make a maximum of progress throughout next year."
For further information
Website on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)
On the economic benefits expected from TTIP
On the EU-US trade relationship