If the Europeans and Americans manage to conclude negotiations over the transatlantic free trade agreement (TTIP), they will have succeeded in setting up a blueprint for a “new generation” of 21st century trade agreements, writes Elvire Fabry.
Elvire Fabry is a senior research fellow at Notre Europe – Jacques Delors Institute.
“Watchfulness” is the key word marking every stance adopted on the negotiation of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). None of the sixty trading agreements either signed, or currently being negotiated by the European Union, has aroused such widespread public interest. Public opinion is calling for greater transparency and consultation.
These calls have already prompted Commissioner for Trade, Karel de Gucht, to suspend a part of the negotiations in order to begin consultations on the establishment of an investor-state dispute settlement. In the United States, Congress has opposed a renewal of the so-called Fast Track procedure, which would give the president the authority to negotiate international agreements, while leaving Congress with the sole option of either accepting or rejecting them, without being able to make amendments.
But, rather than taking a position on the TTIP project at this time, we need to fully assess the challenges involved. If the Europeans and Americans pull off these negotiations, they will have succeeded in setting up a pioneering mechanism for addressing the main issue in commercial agreements in the 21stcentury: regulatory convergence.
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