The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations - a way forward

Published: 8 May 2014

Policies & Issues:

The EU and US have decided to take their economic relationship to a higher level by agreeing to launch negotiations on a transatlantic trade and investment partnership (TTIP). Orgalime is a supporter of the TTIP negotiations and in this updated position paper we further explain our views on tariffs on industrial goods, non-tariff barriers to trade (NTBs), regulatory and other issues. We elaborate on the importance of procedural and regulatory transparency on both EU and US side, on the burden of unnecessary costs suffered by companies in the US due to the lack of mutual recognition of test results among NRTLs, on the need for freer access to public procurement contracts (at both state and federal level) as well as on possible solutions in the field of dual-use

Today there is much focus on the regulatory component of the agreement, and in this respect on standardisation, and conformity assessment procedures. In response to that, Orgalime provides very detailed explanations on the technical barriers to trade encountered by European engineering companies and concrete recommendations on how to solve these. Orgalime considers that an ambitious agreement on regulatory conditions for placing products on the market can save costs for manufacturers and boost both trade and investments on both sides of the Atlantic. TTIP negotiations are an opportunity to improve technical cooperation by minimising as far as possible the existing differences in the respective regulations and by reducing the number of competitive standards for the same product. We emphasise the need to maintain support to ISO, IEC and ITU as the preferred platforms to ensure compatible standards not only between the EU and US but also with other important trading partners of both sides.

If an EU–US agreement is reached, it would be an important step towards increasing the transatlantic trade flows which today, for our industries, already stand at 67 billion euro and have room to grow. It is therefore essential, in our view, that the focus of negotiators should be on reaching a high quality agreement which not only deals with the so-called 'low hanging fruit' but also sets the basis for progress on regulatory convergence for the years to come and the mechanisms to achieve this. Quality rather than speed must be the driver for the TTIP agreement.