In his February 12, 2013, State of the Union address, President Obama announced that the United States and the European Union will immediately launch negotiations on a comprehensive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement. The new U.S.-EU trade talks will seek to expand the world’s largest economic relationship, now valued at nearly $1 trillion annually, through market reforms and rules of groundbreaking scope. In addition to eliminating tariffs and other access barriers to goods, services and investments, the negotiations will seek to:
- Remove costly “behind-the-border” non-tariff barriers, including restrictive food safety, health, consumer and environmental standards
- Harmonize regulations and product standards in numerous sectors, including chemicals, autos, pharmaceuticals, medical devices and emissions
- Establish new rules governing global supply chains, local content, state-owned enterprises, trade facilitation, energy, raw materials, data privacy, labor and the environment, competition, and small-to-medium-size enterprises
Any U.S., EU or multinational company or trade association engaged in U.S.-EU trade or investments should be involved in these negotiations to help advance and protect its interests.
In the United States, there will be several near-term opportunities for stakeholders to become engaged in the talks. During the 90-day period following the President’s notification to Congress of his intent to begin negotiations, the Administration will seek public comments from interested parties on negotiating objectives. The International Trade Commission will also seek comments on the economic impact of the new agreement. On the EU side, the European Commission will present draft negotiating directives to the EU Council for approval, with various opportunities for private-sector representations.