Monday

11th Nov 2019

Trade officials 'optimistic' following EU-US talks

  • Trade officials 'optimistic' following the first week of talks (Photo: europarl.europa.eu)

EU and US trade negotiators signalled their satisfaction at the close of the first week of talks aimed at securing a potentially lucrative bilateral trade agreement worth €119 billion per year.

“We are very optimistic about our prospects,” Dan Mullaney, the chief negotiator for the US, told reporters in Washington DC on Friday (12 July).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

“The goal of the first round was to walk through, cover, all of the major areas that may be addressed,” added Mullaney, although he revealed that the hottest topic in EU-US relations, namely alleged surveillance programmes used by US security services to spy on European institutions and countries, had not been on the agenda.

"Those conversations are taking place in another channel," he said.

For his part, Ignacio Garcia-Bercero, the EU's chief negotiator, commented that the first round had "paved way for an intensive process … which could be transformative for our economies."

Around 150 negotiators in 24 working groups took part in the first round of talks. The EU will host the second round in Brussels, scheduled for October. Both Mullaney and Garcia-Bercero conceded that the hard bargaining was still a fair way off.

The two officials also refused to be drawn publicly on which issues could prove most problematic, but the trickiest sectors are expected to include financial services and food and agriculture.

More broadly, reaching agreement on so-called 'regulatory coherence' that would harmonise product and technical standards between EU and US jurisdictions is expected to be tough, especially as these areas rarely form part of trade talks.

"It's clear that both sides are trying to deal with regulatory issues … but this approach is novel ... so clearly these are going to be difficult issues," said Garcia-Bercero.

The European Commission estimates that a comprehensive TTIP could boost the EU's economic output by around 0.5 percent a year and lead to a 28 percent hike in EU exports of goods and services to the US.

While the scope of the talks remain ambitious, so is the timetable. Both sides are hoping to complete agreement before the end of 2014, less than eighteen months away, and far quicker than the three year average timeline.

"We are very interested in moving expeditiously," noted Mullaney, who added that "without naming names this negotiation is being watched very closely by the highest levels."

EU and China agree to defend 'gastronomic jewels'

Manchego cheese, Panjin rice and Polish vodka will all be protected under a new EU-China agreeement. But the two trading giants continue to struggle over other trade-related deals.

News in Brief

  1. EU's climate contribution exceeds €20bn annually
  2. EU-Singapore trade deal enters into force this month
  3. Commission will not probe Borrell over Catalan tweet
  4. Frontex gets its European border police force
  5. EU Parliament loses funding case against Farage-led party
  6. US will not impose car tariffs, says Juncker
  7. Merkel disagrees with Macron on Nato
  8. Migrants in Malta transferred after EU deal

Opinion

Why von der Leyen must put rights at core of business

Ursula von der Leyen's in-tray must include those European executives on trial for systematic workplace harassment, the break-up of European slavery rings, and allegations of European companies' abuse in palm oil, including child labour, land grabs, and deforestation.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  3. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  4. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  5. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  7. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  11. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work

Latest News

  1. New hearings for the von der Leyen commission This WEEK
  2. Bosnia wants explanation for Macron's 'time-bomb' remark
  3. MEPs slam Commission over common charger delay
  4. Erdogan: refugees will enter Europe unless EU does more
  5. Cleaning up both the EU and Western Balkans
  6. Can Sunday's election end Spain's endless deadlock?
  7. Up to 750 European children trapped in north-east Syria
  8. EU and China agree to defend 'gastronomic jewels'

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us