Thursday

20th Jul 2017

'Scaremongering' threatens trade deal, US ambassador warns MEPs

  • Gardner was making his first appearance in the Parliament since his appointment as President Obama’s man in Brussels in Februar (Photo: Casa de América)

A landmark EU-US trade deal is under threat due to “scaremongering”, the US ambassador to Brussels has warned MEPs.

In a combative debate with deputies on the European Parliament's international trade committee on Wednesday (3 September), Anthony Gardner said that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) had “triggered a wave of criticism that can only be described as scaremongering”.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Gardner was making his first appearance in the parliament since his appointment as President Obama’s man in Brussels in February.

EU and US trade negotiators have now been working for over a year on a trade deal which the European Commission claims could be worth 0.5 percent of extra GDP to the bloc.

The talks were “the single most important economic issue” facing lawmakers and was the “biggest debt free stimulus available,” Gardner claimed.

He added that TTIP, which could sit alongside a Trans-Pacific partnership trade deal that the US is currently negotiating with twelve countries including Japan, South Korea and Malaysia, was an “opportunity to set a standard for regional trade deals”.

“If we fail, other countries who do not share our standards ..... and whose weight in the international trading system is growing fast will set those standards for us”.

“Do not prejudge the results, wait until we have advanced texts before you make up your mind”.

But although the talks enjoy the support of EU governments and good will from the Parliament’s largest political groups, claims that the treaty could reduce food safety standards and make it easier for multinationals to sue governments have dominated media coverage in Europe.

The latter issue, known as investor state dispute settlement (ISDS), has prompted the German government and some EU lawmakers to argue that it should be left out of TTIP.

For his part, Gardner said that an ISDS regime would include provisions to prevent “frivolous claims”. “I am happy to sit down with anyone in this room to discuss this mechanism,” he added.

In response, David Martin, spokesman for the centre-left Socialist and Democrat (S&D)group, insisted that the presence of ISDS clauses in other existing trade agreements had “clearly enhanced corporate power,” and had “cost governments a lot of money,” he said.

The 191-member S&D group, the Parliament’s second largest grouping, has indicated that it will not support a TTIP agreement which includes ISDS.

Meanwhile, in an interview with Austrian newspaper Der Standard last week, Pascal Lamy, a former EU trade commissioner and head of the World Trade Organisation, said that an ISDS clause was “not necessary” and “could be excluded”.

This is important when a company from Europe or the United States invests in a small developing country, he said, adding that "the question is whether we need it between the EU, and the United States and Canada."

MEPs will ultimately decide on TTIP’s fate if EU and US trade negotiators conclude an agreement, expected before the end of 2015.

Both Houses of the US Congress will also have to back the treaty for it to enter into force, with US officials insisting that both Democrats and Republicans continue to support TTIP.

After six rounds of negotiations, officials are now working from five consolidated texts and are set to exchange new offers on scrapping the remaining tariffs on goods later this autumn.

The next round of talks will take place in Washington DC next month.

Analysis

From trade tariffs to trust – TTIP a year on

When political leaders on both sides of the Atlantic gave negotiators the green light to start talks on a Transatlantic trade and investment partnership (TTIP), it was widely seen as an economic 'win-win' - a debt free economic stimulus.

Opinion

Winter is here for Spitzenkandidat, but he'll survive

Candidates from all political families should be presenting their vision on where the Union should be headed. European socialists want to keep the Spitzenkandidat procedure for future elections.

Investigation

Mafia money pollutes the EU economy

Huge amounts of money from criminal activities are funnelled into the legitimate European economy. But little is being done about it at EU or national level.

News in Brief

  1. GMO opt-out plan unlikely to go anywhere in 2017
  2. Slovak PM threatens to boycott inferior food
  3. France takes Google's 'right to be forgotten' to EU court
  4. Turkey accuses German companies of supporting terror
  5. Israel's Netanyahu caught calling EU 'crazy'
  6. UK does not collect enough data to expel EU nationals
  7. Polish president threatens to veto justice reform
  8. EU immigration to Switzerland at lowest level since 2005

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  2. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference
  3. ECPAFood waste in the field can double without crop protection. #WithOrWithout #pesticides
  4. EU2017EEEstonia Allocates €1 Million to Alleviate Migratory Pressure From Libya in Italy
  5. Dialogue PlatformFethullah Gulen's Message on the Anniversary of the Coup Attempt in Turkey
  6. Martens CentreWeeding out Fake News: An Approach to Social Media Regulation
  7. European Jewish CongressEJC Concerned by Normalisation of Antisemitic Tropes in Hungary
  8. Counter BalanceOut for Summer Episode 1: How the EIB Sweeps a Development Fiasco Under the Rug
  9. CESICESI to Participate in Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee on Postal Services
  10. ILGA-EuropeMalta Keeps on Rocking: Marriage Equality on Its Way
  11. European Friends of ArmeniaEuFoA Director and MEPs Comment on the Recent Conflict Escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh
  12. EU2017EEEstonian Presidency Kicks off Youth Programme With Coding Summer School

Latest News

  1. Law expert: direct EU powers have become too complicated
  2. Winter is here for Spitzenkandidat, but he'll survive
  3. Mafia money pollutes the EU economy
  4. Central Europe should be wary of Brexit stopping
  5. Poland's 'July coup' and what it means for the judiciary
  6. Commission: clean up diesel cars, or EU agency inevitable
  7. EU Commission readies Article 7 procedure against Poland
  8. Fake EU parliament jobs case reaches French left leader