At the G8 Summit in Northern Ireland today, President Obama and European Commission President Barroso announced that the first round of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) negotiations will officially kick off in Washington, DC the week of July 8th.
Manufacturers strongly support the launch of these negotiations and have advocated for a U.S.-EU agreement that is comprehensive, ambitious and reduces the cost of doing business across the Atlantic. However, we remain concerned with the EU mandate approved on Friday which carves out certain exclusions from the negotiations. While the United States and EU share the world’s largest economic relationship, the NAM has long believed that eliminating transatlantic barriers and improving commercial relations through a broad trade and investment agreement would generate substantial new opportunities for manufacturers and for the U.S. and EU economies.
Earlier this year, NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons sent a letter to President Obama, outlining manufacturers’ goals for the T-TIP negotiations. The letter urges the Administration to work towards a final agreement that will tear down barriers to U.S.-EU trade, and ensure that the T-TIP outcomes are commercially meaningful and promote economic and job growth. From the NAM’s perspective, it is crucial that the TTIP create new commercial opportunities – not new regulations or barriers – for manufacturers in the United States.
Removing regulatory barriers to trade and reducing unnecessary divergence between EU and U.S. regulations must be a fundamental focus of these negotiations. These barriers not only limit market access on both sides of the Atlantic, but also significantly increase costs for U.S. and EU manufacturers, undermining their global competitiveness. Strong outcomes on intellectual property, investment and a host of other issues must also be secured.
It has long been the NAM’s position that the T-TIP negotiations should be broad and that no sector or specific good or service should be excluded. The recently approved EU mandate, however, sends a worrisome signal that the EU may not be prepared for the type of comprehensive agreement envisioned, as it seeks to shield sectors from liberalization even before official talks have begun. Ultimately, a successful agreement will be one that covers all sectors and the NAM will be working towards that result.
Major opportunities for increased trade and investment between the United States and EU remain untapped. Manufacturers look forward to working with our with U.S. and EU negotiators to help them negotiate an agreement that creates further trade liberalization, allowing both of our economies to benefit from new commercial opportunities.
Jessica Lemos is director of international trade policy, National Association of Manufacturers.
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