EU skeptical on next TTIP negotiations with Trump

EU Commission is looking for a political mandate for new EU-U.S. negotiations on trade.

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The European Commission calls for the reopening of the Transatlantic negotiations, which were interrupted in 2016 by U.S. President. 

The European Parliament told yesterday the EU Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmström, that the negotiations can not start with some of Trump’s requests: the opening of the European agricultural market and of the EU public procurement. MEPs criticized the new US steel and aluminum tariffs and new US threats. (Here the video recording of the EP debate)

Can the talks on the TTIP be resumed??

 The EU Commissioner has tried to convince the Assembly of the European Parliament that the Joint Statement, agreed between the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and the President of the United States Donald Trump in July 2018, is a good starting point “to avoid further escalation of the commercial war “. With €6 billion of EU steel and aluminum exports already subject to additional duties – and a potential of €50 billion of exports of car and car parts – the EU has spread concerns that the US was pushing the EU towards a trade war that would affect a significant volume of two-way transatlantic trade.

Today, five months later, concern is growing, also due to recessive signs of the European economy. This is why the EU Commission would resume the negotiations with U.S. as soon as possible.

EU28 GDP Grow Rates
Source: Eurostat 2019

The bases of the negotiations and the work done in the meantime have been mentioned in the new Interim Report, released on 31 January 2019, which reminds also the EU-U.S. engagement of last July:

1) reciprocal liberalisation of trade in (non-auto) industrial goods;

2) exploration of trade facilitating actions in a number of identified sectors (services, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, medical devices and soybeans);

3) closer cooperation on standards;

4) strategic cooperation on energy issues, including recognition of the goal of increasing EU imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the US as a contribution towards improved energy supply diversification;

5) WTO reform and cooperation to address global challenges of unfair trading practices, including intellectual property theft, forced technology transfer, industrial subsidies, distortions created by state owned enterprises and overcapacity.

Read the U.S. official list of negotiating objectives, released last 11 January.

The American document is a shopping list with all objectives that the Trump’s administration wants to achieve. It covers  all sectors, while aiming directly at access to the European agricultural market and the elimination of duties on U.S. industrial products.

What next?

The EU Council (ministerial meetings of the EU28) has to confirm its agreement on the Joint Statement, agreed between European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and United States President Donald Trump in July 2018 and then EU Commission and U.S. administration, so that the EU Commission could start new negotiations with a political mandate.

One of the most important issues of the mandate requested by the European Commission is the power to suspend negotiations with U.S., if they do not refrain during the negotiations from adopting new measures or restrictions against the European Union.

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