CED EU INFO 2015/02


Issue 2 - May 2015

 

TTIP negotiations delayed

Initially scheduled for 7 May, INTA Committee's vote to the draft report by the chair, Bernd Lange was postponed to 28 May. As a result, the vote by the Plenary will most likely be in June. The International Trade Committee (INTA) is taking the lead in drafting the European Parliament's recommendations for the TTIP. Almost 900 amendments were proposed to the draft report and fifteen Committees have issued opinions on TTIP (available on the EP website).


In particular, the opinion of the ENVI Committee (voted on 14 April) called for five health-related areas to be excluded from TTIP negotiations, including public health services, as well as for the safeguard of the 'precautionary principle' in regulatory cooperation, further increase of transparency in line with recommendations by the European Ombudsman, opposing to the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism which grants an investor the right to use dispute settlement proceedings against a foreign government.

The LIBE Committee in its opinion (voted on 31 March) called on the Commission to incorporate, as a key priority, "a comprehensive and unambiguous horizontal self-standing provision based on Article XIV of the GATS [general exceptions] that fully exempts the existing and future EU legal framework on the protection of personal data from the agreement, without any condition that it must be consistent with other parts of the TTIP". MEPs also reiterate the need for transparency and accountability in the TTIP negotiations throughout the entire process. See press release.

On 6 May, INTA Members exchanged views with Commissioner Cecilia Malmström on investment protection in TTIP. The Commissioner presented her approach on the way forward  to resolve disputes by foreign investors known as ISDS. Some MEPs supported a reform of the current international arbitration mechanism by introducing greater transparency, appeals and a code of conduct for arbitrators. Other MEPs showed their concerns towards the deterrent effect on regulators of the ISDS clause and therefore against this mechanism and some saw a permanent investment court staffed by permanent judges as the solution.

The negotiations across the Atlantic continue but it is not likely that they will be concluded by the end of the year, told the Latvia's Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics to reporters on 25 March.

The 9th round took place on 20 April - 24 April 2015 in New York. The negotiators focused mainly on regulatory cooperation and technical barriers to trade (tariffs and public procurement, not yet services), as well as on specific sectors such as medical devices (US asked clarifications about the mutual recognition of quality management system audits concept and its relation with the international Medical Devices Single Audit Programme, taking both teams stock of the progress of the Unique Device Identifier -UDI and the Regulated Product Submission - RPS) and cosmetics (the main EU objective for cosmetics remains the approximation of safety assessment methods and the streamlining of the authorization procedure in the US for ingredients such as UV-filters). See 9th round report and EU position paper on medical devices. The ISDS clause continues to be on the agenda and some EU countries have now came out in support of this clause. The 10th round will be in July in Brussel.

Other relevant information:

- EU-US Joint Statement on Public Services adopted on 20 March.

 


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