European Commission Proposes Negotiation Mandate for EU-U.S. Trade Talks

Mar 12, 2013, 15:24 ET from Delegation of the European Union to the United States

WASHINGTON, March 12, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The European Commission today agreed on the draft mandate for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement with the United States, effectively firing the starting gun for what is hoped to be a relatively quick negotiation. The draft mandate will now be sent to the Council for the Member States to approve it before negotiations can start.

"I am very pleased that just one month after the announcement by the EU and the U.S. to go for this 'game-changing' trade deal, the European Commission is ready with a proposed mandate for the future negotiations. We can now roll up our sleeves up and get down to the business of preparing negotiations," said European Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht. "I hope that Member States will now quickly decide to open negotiations so work can begin with the United States before the summer break."

Last month, President Barack Obama, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy announced they were each starting the internal procedures necessary to launch negotiations on the much awaited trade agreement (MEMO/13/95). The negotiations will be based on the work of the EU-U.S. High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth co-chaired by Commissioner De Gucht and United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk.


The EU and the U.S. make up 40 percent of global economic output and their bilateral economic relationship is already the world's largest. The aim of the high-standard Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is to liberalize trade and investment between the two blocs.

According to a report released today by the European Commission (Reducing Transatlantic Barriers to Trade and Investment), an ambitious and comprehensive transatlantic trade and investment partnership could bring significant economic gains as a whole for the EU (119 billion euros a year) and the U.S. (95 billion euros a year) once the agreement is fully implemented. Overall, the extra bilateral trade between the EU and U.S., together with their increased trade with other partners, would represent a rise in total EU exports of 6 percent and of 8 percent in U.S. exports. This would mean an additional 220 billion euros and 240 billion euros worth of sales of goods and services for EU and U.S. based producers, respectively.

The European Union and the United States will have their eyes on more than just removing tariffs.  Tariffs between them are already low (on average only 4 percent) so the main hurdles to trade lie 'behind the border' in regulations, non-tariff barriers and red tape. Estimates show that 80 percent of the overall potential wealth gains of a trade deal will come from cutting costs imposed by bureaucracy and regulations, as well as from liberalizing trade in services and public procurement.

That's why the two trading giants will reinforce their regulatory cooperation, so to create similar regulations rather than have to try to adapt them at a later stage. The aim is to build a more integrated transatlantic marketplace, while respecting each side's right to regulate in a way that ensures the protection of health, safety and the environment at a level it considers appropriate. Both sides hope that by aligning their domestic standards, they will be able to set the benchmark for developing global rules. Such a move would be clearly beneficial to both EU and U.S. exporters, but it would also strengthen the multilateral trading system.

For further information, please see:

Video of press briefing with Commissioner De Gucht

Statement by President Barroso on the transatlantic trade negotiation mandate

MEMO/13/211: Independent study outlines benefits of EU-U.S. trade agreement

MEMO/13/95: European Union and United States to launch negotiations for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership

More information on the EU's trade relations with the United States:

SOURCE Delegation of the European Union to the United States