Written by Laura Puccio
With the next TTIP negotiating session due in July, an extraordinary meeting of Parliament’s International Trade Committee (INTA) will be held on 29 June. The Committee will discuss the many amendments put forward in plenary to its draft recommendations for the EU’s negotiators, with the aim of finding compromises which the Parliament can rally behind.
Negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the European Union and the United States reached their ninth round in New York in April 2015. Discussions have covered a broad range of topics, and substantial work undertaken, in particular on the chapters of the agreement covering customs and trade facilitation, services, SMEs, sector-specific regulatory cooperation, and tariffs. Several issues remain highly controversial on both sides: Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS), Geographical Indications (GIs), the horizontal regulatory cooperation mechanism, and a separate chapter on energy. The tenth round of negotiations is due to be held in July 2015, in Brussels.
New draft recommendations on TTIP were adopted by the Committee on International Trade (INTA) on 28 May 2015, two years after negotiations began, and will need to be discussed and voted in plenary before submission to the European Commission (the Union’s negotiator). In the past year, support for TTIP across Europe has varied. Member States such as Germany and Austria have seen the rise of an anti-TTIP movement, whose main concerns are data protection, ISDS and regulatory cooperation (particularly the potential impact of TTIP on food-safety regulations). The draft recommendations adopted by INTA reflect these political sensitivities, and differ substantially in tone from the Parliament’s earlier recommendations, of May 2013, in that they indicate more precise directions in which the EP would like future negotiations to go.
The discussion and vote in plenary planned for 10 June was postponed in view of the large number of amendments submitted to the draft recommendations. In particular a significant number of amendments sought to reopen the compromise struck in INTA on ISDS, proposing an approach based on the Commission’s concept paper, with a view to creating a permanent (quasi-court-like) resolution mechanism, with opposition to any reference to ISDS persisting in some parts of the chamber.
See also our in-depth analysis on the issue of financial services in the TTIP negotiations.