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EU MEPs Seek Ambitious And Balanced TTIP

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

02 June 2015

An EU-US trade deal should deepen EU access to the US market, but must not undermine EU standards or the right to regulate in the public interest, said Trade Committee MEPs in draft recommendations agreed on May 28. They also agreed that tools for resolving disputes between investors and states should be reformed and improved.

The recommendations to the Commission negotiators on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), approved in committee by 28 votes to 13 with no abstentions, still need to be endorsed by the European Parliament as a whole.

EU gross domestic product (GDP) is "heavily dependent on trade and export," so a "well-designed" deal with the US could help boost the industry contribution to EU GDP by 15- 20 percent by 2020, says the text, with EU firms, especially small, medium, and micro enterprises, newly benefiting from a market of 850m consumers.

The Committee highlighted that contradictory study findings make the TTIP's real benefits for the EU economy hard to assess. It therefore stressed that the talks must be transparent, in order to deliver an "ambitious" but "balanced" deal, with shared benefits across EU member states, leading to an "effective, pro-competitive economic environment" and precluding non-tariff trade barriers. High levels of protection for EU consumers their data, health, and safety must be guaranteed, and social, fiscal, and environmental dumping must be prevented, it added.

It was agreed that, while aiming to eliminate all customs tariffs, the EU and the US should negotiate an "exhaustive list" of "sensitive agriculture and industrial products" that would either be exempted from trade liberalization or subject to longer transitional periods. They ask the EU negotiators to "make every effort" to insert a "safeguard clause," reserving the right to close markets for specific products in the event of import surges that threaten to cause serious harm to domestic food production. They have also asked the European Commission to encourage the US to lift its ban on EU beef imports.

A plenary vote on the text needs to be endorsed by Parliament as a whole, with a plenary vote currently scheduled for June 10.

TAGS: environment | European Commission | export duty | interest | gross domestic product (GDP) | tariffs | food | import duty | standards | trade | European Union (EU) | Investment | Europe | Invest | Investment

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