Sixth Round of TTIP Talks to Be Held July 14-18
The European Commission announced June 18 that the sixth round of discussions on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership will be held July 14-18 in Brussels. An EC press release indicates that negotiators will continue their discussions on trade in goods and services, regulatory issues, government procurement, environmental protection and labor rights, energy and raw materials, and opportunities for small- and medium-sized enterprises. The two sides also intend to spend a day with representatives of industry, non-governmental organizations, consumer groups, trade unions, professional bodies and other civil society groups.
U.S. Trade Representative Mike Froman and EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht met this week in Washington to address several politically sensitive issues ahead of the sixth round, including government procurement. Froman also mentioned at the State Department’s “Our Ocean” conference the need to include disciplines in TTIP to address subsidies that contribute to overfishing, a request in line with President Obama’s recently announced framework of actions to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing as well as seafood fraud. Fishing subsidies remain a sensitive issue in the EU and their inclusion in the negotiations could make it even more difficult for the U.S. and the EU to move the discussions towards a fruitful conclusion. Froman also said at the conference that the U.S. is “seeking a breakthrough of sorts” in this area in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations as well as additional commitments to promote sustainable fisheries management.