[Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in the Advisor, a weekly publication of the ST&R-TAP service, which provides news and analysis vital to professionals in the textile and apparel field. Click here for more information or to subscribe.]
European Union Chief Negotiator Ignacio García Bercero indicated at the conclusion of the 14th round of talks on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership that while the two sides are now at an “advanced stage of the negotiations” a lot of work still needs to be done.
TTIP will have up to 30 chapters and proposals are currently on the table for almost all of them. Both sides have submitted offers on market access for goods that would eliminate duties on 97 percent of all tariff lines, “leaving the remaining 3 percent for the so called end game.” Negotiators are looking at improving these offers by speeding up the elimination of most tariffs. García Bercero observed that the lack of ambition in the U.S. government procurement offer remains a major gap in the talks as well as “a serious cause for concern.”
On regulatory issues, the two sides have on the table the general provisions on good regulatory practices and regulatory cooperation. The current proposals cover seven industry sectors, including textiles and apparel. The U.S. and the EU have also consolidated texts on technical barriers to trade as well as sanitary and phytosanitary measures. On rules, the EU has ostensibly proposed the most ambitious chapter on trade and sustainable development, including labor and the environment. The EU has also put forward a text on energy and raw materials that includes proposals to promote green innovations and trade of green technologies.
In all, the EU submitted ten new textual proposals during the 14th round. García Bercero concluded that with all of this on the table the two sides “have an outline of the future TTIP agreement, but important differences remain and much work, basically in every area of the talks, is needed until we can say we have a deal.” Looking ahead, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and U.S. Trade Representative Mike Froman will continue to talk over the summer and ministerial discussions will be held in Bratislava in September.