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USTR Issues Updated List of Objectives for TTIP Talks

Thursday, March 13, 2014
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative on March 11 issued an updated list of objectives for its ongoing negotiations with the European Union on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. USTR welcomes feedback from interested parties on these goals as well as on any related information and any other U.S. trade and investment initiatives. In its request for input, the agency notes that U.S. trade and investment policies “are made stronger when they are shaped by the broadest possible input.”

Summarized below, the updated TTIP objectives cover trade in goods, textiles and apparel, non-tariff barriers and regulatory issues, rules of origin, trade in services, electronic commerce and information and communication technology services, investment, customs and trade facilitation, government procurement, labor, environment, intellectual property rights, state-owned enterprises, small- and medium-sized enterprises, dispute settlement, and transparency, anticorruption and competition.

Trade in Goods

- eliminate all tariffs and other duties and charges on trade in agricultural, industrial and consumer products between the U.S. and the EU, with substantial duty elimination on entry into force of the agreement, transition periods where necessary for sensitive products, and appropriate safeguard mechanisms to be applied if and where necessary

Textiles and Apparel

- obtain fully reciprocal access to the EU market for U.S. textile and apparel products, supported by effective and efficient customs cooperation and other rules to facilitate U.S.-EU trade in textiles and apparel

Non-Tariff Barriers and Regulatory Issues

- eliminate or reduce non-tariff barriers that decrease opportunities for U.S. exports, provide a competitive advantage to products of the EU or otherwise distort trade, such as unwarranted sanitary and phytosanitary restrictions that are not based on science, unjustified technical barriers to trade and other “behind-the-border” barriers, including the restrictive administration of tariff-rate quotas and permit and licensing barriers that impose unnecessary costs and limit competitive opportunities for U.S. exports

- while maintaining the level of health, safety and environmental protection U.S. citizens have come to expect, seek greater compatibility of U.S. and EU regulations and related standards development processes with the objective of reducing costs associated with unnecessary regulatory differences and facilitating trade by promoting transparency in the development and implementation of regulations and good regulatory practices, establishing mechanisms for future progress, and pursuing regulatory cooperation initiatives where appropriate

- build on key principles and disciplines of the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade through strong cross-cutting disciplines and, as appropriate, sectoral approaches, to achieve meaningful market access, and establish ongoing mechanisms for improved dialogue and cooperation on TBT issues

- build on key principles and disciplines of the WTO Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures to achieve meaningful market access, including commitments to base SPS measures on science and international standards or scientific risk assessments, apply them only to the extent necessary to protect human, animal or plant life or health, and develop such measures in a transparent manner without undue delay, and establish an ongoing mechanism for improved dialogue and cooperation addressing bilateral SPS issues

Rules of Origin

- establish rules of origin that ensure that duty rates under an agreement with the EU apply only to goods eligible to receive such treatment and define procedures to apply and enforce such rules

Trade in Services

- obtain improved market access in the EU on a comprehensive basis and address the operation of any designated monopolies and state-owned enterprises, as appropriate

- reinforce transparency, impartiality and due process with regard to authorizations to supply services, obtain additional disciplines in certain services sectors, and improve regulatory cooperation where appropriate

Electronic Commerce and Information and Communication Technology Services

- develop appropriate provisions to facilitate the use of electronic commerce to support goods and services trade, including through commitments not to impose customs duties on digital products or unjustifiably discriminate among products delivered electronically

- include provisions that facilitate the movement of cross-border data flows


- secure for U.S. investors in the EU important rights comparable to those that would be available under U.S. legal principles and practice while ensuring that EU investors in the U.S. are not accorded greater substantive rights with respect to investment protections than U.S. investors

- ensure that U.S. investors receive treatment as favorable as that accorded to EU investors or other foreign investors in the EU, and seek to reduce or eliminate artificial or trade-distorting barriers to the establishment and operation of U.S. investment in the EU

- provide and maintain meaningful procedures for resolving disputes between U.S. investors and the EU and its member states in line with the goals of expeditious, fair and transparent dispute resolution and the objective of ensuring that governments maintain the discretion to regulate in the public interest

Customs and Trade Facilitation

- establish disciplines to ensure transparent, efficient and predictable conduct of customs operations, ensure that customs measures are not applied in a manner that creates unwarranted procedural obstacles to trade, and enhance customs cooperation between the U.S. and the EU and its member states

Government Procurement

- expand market access opportunities for U.S. goods, services and suppliers of goods and services to the government procurement markets of the EU and its member states

- ensure fair, transparent and predictable conduct of government procurement and that U.S. suppliers of goods and services receive treatment as favorable as that accorded to domestic and other foreign goods, services and suppliers in the EU and its member states

Labor and Environment

- obtain appropriate commitments by the EU with respect to internationally recognized labor rights and effective enforcement of labor laws concerning those rights, consistent with U.S. priorities and objectives, and establish procedures for consultations and cooperation to promote respect for internationally recognized labor rights

- obtain, consistent with U.S. priorities and objectives, appropriate commitments by the EU to protect the environment (including conserving natural resources), effectively enforce environmental laws, and seek opportunities to address environmental issues of mutual interest

Intellectual Property Rights

- obtain, consistent with U.S. priorities and objectives, appropriate commitments that reflect the shared U.S.-EU objective of high-level IPR protection and enforcement, and sustain and enhance joint leadership on IPR issues

- seek new opportunities to advance and defend the interests of U.S. creators, innovators, businesses, farmers and workers with respect to strong protection and effective enforcement of IPR, including their ability to compete in foreign markets

SOEs and SMEs

- establish appropriate, globally relevant disciplines on state trading enterprises, state-owned enterprises and designated monopolies, including disciplines that promote transparency and reduce trade distortions

- strengthen U.S.-EU cooperation to enhance the participation of small- and medium-sized enterprises in trade between the U.S and the EU

Transparency, Anticorruption and Competition

- obtain improved transparency in the administration of EU and member state trade and investment regimes and rules that ensure trade- and investment-related measures are adopted and applied in an open and transparent manner and provide meaningful opportunities for public comment, notice and review

- obtain appropriate commitments on anticorruption

- address matters of mutual interest regarding competition policy and process and further improve cooperation on competition policy

Dispute Settlement

- establish fair, transparent, timely and effective procedures to settle disputes on matters arising under a trade and investment agreement with the EU, including through early identification and settlement of disputes through consultation

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