U.S.-EU Trade Talks to Resume in March Following February Stocktaking
The U.S. and the European Union announced this week that the next round of negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership will be held in Brussels March 10-14. Prior to that round, EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht and U.S. Trade Representative Mike Froman will meet in Washington, D.C., Feb. 17 and 18 to assess the progress made to date and provide political guidance to the chief negotiators on how best to take the negotiations forward. The third round of talks was held in Washington last November.
Also this week the European Commission announced the launch of an advisory group of 14 “experts in consumer interests, labor law, the environment and public health, business, manufacturing, agriculture and services sectors.” Group members will examine specific challenges that may arise during the TTIP talks in these fields and provide candid feedback to EU negotiators. To improve the quality of that advice, the Commission will share with group members detailed information about progress in the talks and, for the first time (but only when deemed necessary), EU negotiating documents. The group met informally on Jan. 21 and will hold its first full working session Feb. 25.
Both announcements come amid increasing concerns within the EU about the proposed TTIP on issues ranging from data privacy to regulatory standards to investment. Last week the EU said it would suspend talks on the investment provisions of the TTIP to solicit more public input.