TTIP aims to make rules and regulations for business in Europe and the U.S. more compatible in the long term. The goal: Common standards for future technologies create advantages for consumers and for companies.
Specifically, the TTIP negotiations seek to eliminate tariffs and other barriers to trade that exist between the European Union (the EU) and the United States of America (the U.S.).
The aim is to further open up the markets on both sides of the Atlantic. Furthermore, TTIP aims to loosen restrictions in the commercial services sector, improve security of investment, and to level the playing field for competitors from both sides of the Atlantic, including by facilitating access to public procurement contracts at all levels of government. And then there are issues like better protection for designations of geographical origin for products.
TTIP gives us an opportunity to make rules and regulations for business in Europe and the U.S. more compatible in the long term. For example, the EU and the U.S. want to cooperate closely on developing joint standards for future technologies.
The goal is for the EU and the U.S. to jointly develop high environmental, consumer and employee protection standards.
TTIP is being negotiated by EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and by the United States Trade Representative Michael Froman. The European Commission coordinates its negotiating position closely with the member states.
On the European side, the negotiations are being headed by the European Commission, and within that body the Directorate-General for Trade. EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström is the commissioner who is politically responsible for the TTIP negotiations. Ignacio Garcia Bercero from the Directorate-General for Trade is the main negotiator for the European Commission.
The member states of the EU issued a mandate to the European Commission to conduct negotiations with the U.S. on 14 June 2013.
The EU has designated heads of negotiation for the more than 20 working groups; their names can be found on the Commission's website. The EU's leading negotiators are supported by experts from the various Directorates-General of the European Commission and the various regulatory authorities. Furthermore, the European Commission appointed a 14-person advisory board at the end of January 2014; it consists of experts from different sectors of the economy, as well as consumer protection experts and trade union representatives.
On the U.S. side, the U.S. Trade Representative (Office of the United States Trade Representative - USTR) bears political responsibility. The chief negotiator on the U.S. side is . For additional information about the U.S. negotiators, please consult the website of the USTR at .
The EU and the U.S. have been talking about a possible trade agreement since 2011; specific negotiations on TTIP began in 2013.
2011 to 2013: At the "High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth" (HLWG), experts from the U.S. administration and the European Commission identify options for a further deepening of transatlantic economic relations.
11 February 2013: In its final report, the HLWG recommends a comprehensive trade and investment agreement.
14 June 2013: EU Council of Trade Ministers issues the negotiating mandate for TTIP to the European Commission.
17 June 2013: US President Barack Obama and José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, announce the launch of negotiations on TTIP at the G8 summit.
July, November and December 2013: 1st to 3rd rounds of negotiations.
10 February 2014: Event organised by the Economic Affairs Ministry and the European Commission with members of the Bundestag, representatives of civil society, and EU chief negotiator Ignacio Garcia Bercero in Berlin.
10 to 14 March 2014: 4th round of negotiations in Brussels.
26 March 2014: EU-U.S. summit in Brussels (TTIP is central issue).
19 to 23 May 2014: 5th round of negotiations in Arlington, Virginia.
14 to 18 July 2014: 6th round of negotiations in Brussels.
29 September to 3 October 2014: 7th round of negotiations in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
2 to 6 February 2015: 8th round of negotiations in Brussels.
20 to 24 April 2015: 9th round of negotiations in New York.
The European Parliament is planning to adopt a resolution on TTIP in May.
The European Commission wants common rules and the abolition of tariffs. It is not willing to give up European standards in the field of health, foodstuffs or consumer protection.
The main aim of the European Commission is to reduce tariffs and technical barriers to trade (TBTs) and to achieve better cooperation on rules and regulations. It wants the "Buy American" requirement to be relaxed in public procurement by the states of the U.S.; it wants to strengthen designations of geographical origin for foodstuffs from Europe, and to maintain the current level of protection for consumers and the environment.
The European Commission has difficulties with a far-reaching opening up to agricultural products or the watering down of import restrictions which exist to protect the life and health of people, flora and fauna. It is not willing to give up European standards in the field of health, foodstuffs or consumer protection. In every case, the "precautionary principle" is to be upheld. This means for example that, as in the past, genetically modified organisms - such as GM maize - may only be marketed in line with the strict EU rules. As in the past, this will require a positive safety vetting by the . Hormone-treated meat will not appear on Europe's markets in future either.
TTIP will reduce the cost of trade in goods and open up access to the U.S. market, particularly for small and medium-sized firms. For the U.S., the agreement will facilitate access to the world's largest common market.
The aim of a successfully concluded TTIP agreement is a transatlantic marketplace which significantly simplifies trade between Europe and the U.S. A higher volume of trade will have positive effects on turnover and jobs on both sides of the Atlantic. After all, the U.S. is the EU's leading sales market; in the other direction, the EU countries are the most important trading partner for the U.S. The U.S. is Germany's main export market outside Europe.
One aspect is the reduction of tariff barriers. Studies have shown that a full reduction of tariffs could save German firms billions of euros. The stimulus from a deeper coordination of regulations and standards is expected to be even greater. Both trading areas already have very high standards for product safety, environmental and consumer protection. It doesn't always make sense to spend a lot of time and money testing goods on both sides of the Atlantic, only to arrive at the same findings. Greater coordination on standards, testing and authorisations could save a massive amount of costs. This would particularly benefit small and medium-sized firms in Germany; many of them are unable to afford a second certification procedure in the U.S.
Finally, the envisaged agreement can open up entirely new opportunities for the future design of free-trade agreements around the world. After all, it would set new standards for sustainable commercial activity and worker protection.
You can find out more about the advantages of TTIP here:
No. An internal market - like that of the European Union - is characterised by the free movement of goods, services, capital and workers. TTIP is not intended to bring this about.
TTIP is intended to create a community which uses high social and environmental standards in labour law and health and safety at work. This can serve as a role model for the rest of the world.
TTIP will not have any negative impact on our sustainable development, because compliance with sustainability criteria like labour protection and environmental protection is a primary goal of the negotiators on both sides. For example, there are plans to include an effective mechanism to implement the labour and social standards of the in the agreement. The improvements in trade and investment should not be at the expense of social or environmental standards, labour law or health and safety at work. For this reason, the agreement will contain a separate chapter on sustainability. This will describe obligations for environmentally friendly public procurement or the promotion of trade with environmentally friendly products and services.
The planned agreement will boost the ability of the companies to innovate. With joint standards for forward-looking technologies, it will be easier to introduce innovations into a common transatlantic market. The innovative German firms in particular will benefit from this.
European enterprises will have much easier access to the large U.S. market. Studies suggest that trade between the EU and the U.S. could increase substantially in the long term. Lower tariffs and barriers to trade will create better opportunities for exports, higher turnover and more jobs. Experts are predicting a positive and lasting stimulus for the labour market in Germany and the EU as a whole.
SMEs from Germany will derive the greatest benefits, since they will be able to gain a foothold in the U.S. due to the easier market access. They will probably benefit most in terms of turnover and job gains. For example, a TTIP agreement will need to be in place if European firms are to have a chance to win public contracts in the U.S. They would also profit most from aligned technical and quality standards. According to a survey of business associations, these sorts of trade barriers have so far been the main obstacle to access to the U.S. market.
Also, the planned agreement is to boost the ability of the companies to innovate. If both sides work more closely together in future on the development of standards for forward-looking technologies, it will be easier to introduce innovations into a common transatlantic market. The innovative German firms in particular will benefit from this.
The EU will uphold its fundamental laws which protect people, animals and the environment.
TTIP offers three major advantages for the public: lower prices for goods, greater product diversity, and more jobs. The cutting of red tape and tariffs will save the companies costs and can thus reduce prices. The lower prices for goods would ultimately mean more money in every individual's pocket.
And the reduction in trade barriers will also engender greater product diversity. Finally, experts expect simplified transatlantic trade to generate more jobs in Germany. Firstly because German firms, and particularly SMEs, can export more. And secondly because U.S. firms would also invest more in Germany.
It is also important for consumers to know that the EU will not revoke any of its fundamental laws which protect people, animals and the environment. Rather, the aim is to align different standards and licensing procedures wherever bureaucratic barriers can be lowered without a lessening of consumer protection.
A dynamic economy in a common transatlantic market will impact on other countries too. TTIP will boost the global economy.
The planned trade agreement can generate fresh opportunities for other countries. For example, it is feasible that more intensive transatlantic trade will create additional business for other countries too, for example in the upstream sector. Much depends on the specific details of the agreement.
World trade as a whole will benefit from brisk trade between the U.S. and Europe. After all, both trading blocs are reliant on intermediate products and raw materials from all around the world. New growth can ultimately result in more jobs, higher wages and a higher standard of living here too.
Also, the TTIP agreement is expected to encourage an international harmonisation of rules and standards. After all, if the EU and the U.S. succeed in harmonising their rules, other countries could orient themselves to these rules. This alignment can further stimulate international trade by reducing barriers to trade between other countries as well.
The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation commissioned a study from the ifo Institute into possible effects of TTIP on developing and emerging economies. The study finds that TTIP is expected to have, at most, minor negative effects on individual developing countries. For further information on the study, please click .
An important point: the TTIP agreement is not competing with negotiations in the WTO context. The Doha Round, for example, is about improvements to world trade involving a large number of countries. Germany has played a major role in pushing these talks ahead, and supports the measures adopted in Bali in December 2013 by 159 countries. The planned EU-U.S. agreement supplements these negotiations.
Yes, there are. Audiovisual services are not covered by the negotiating mandate for the European Commission. Depending on the supply by the United Stated and in consultation with its respective departments and the Länder, the Federal Government will determine what other areas are to be covered by further arrangements. The Federal Government takes into consideration the specific role of public services of general interest, cultural services and the specific characteristics of services.
The freedom of choice of regional bodies, e. g. municipalities, on how to organise services of general interest is not to be affected by the TTIP agreement. The scope of action is to be safeguarded for the future. The Federal Government is also committed to avoid additional obligations for Germany and the EU in the cultural sector, which are going beyond existing WTO/ GATS commitments.
In August 2016, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy undertook a comprehensive evaluation of the state of play. Agreement had yet to be reached on any of the 27-30 chapters of the agreement at that time, although positions had moved closer together on some of them.
Since the negotiations were not completed before the change in the U.S. administration, there will be a break in early 2017 until a new U.S. administration has been formed. At present, it is unclear whether and how the talks with the new U.S. administration can be continued.
CETA has now arrived at the adoption stage. The text of the treaty is available in all EU languages, including German, and can be read on the internet. The negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership are ongoing. So the TTIP negotiations cannot impact on CETA.
TTIP and CETA are not comparable.
Even if both agreements aim to abolish trade barriers and to strengthen cooperation between the trading partners, they are both very different. This is obvious not least from the different dimensions of trade relations between the EU and the U.S./Canada. In 2015, goods and services worth approx. €289.39 billion were exported by the EU to the United States, whilst the volume of exports to Canada was only some €35.22 billion. Despite this difference in scale, as a modern free trade agreement, and the first such agreement concluded between the EU and a developed democracy, CETA points the way forward for the EU’s trade policy.
Also, the two free trade agreements are at totally different stages of advancement: in the case of the TTIP negotiations, there is no agreement so far on any of the 27-30 chapters. Also, there is a large number of chapters for which the European Commission has yet to receive any proposed wordings from the U.S. In contrast, in the case of CETA, the EU and Canada have coordinated a common position on the various areas, i.e. the negotiations have been completed. The technical negotiations on CETA were concluded in August 2014, and the legal scrubbing in February 2016. The agreement is currently in the adoption process.
The EU and the German government are providing information on a regular basis and are involving civil society.
The Federal Government and the European Commission are doing a great deal to inform business associations, NGOs, trade unions, and representatives of other civil society groups about the ongoing negotiations on TTIP. They are also making use of the opportunity to find out about their views.
These views can then be picked up on by the European Commission, the European Parliament, EU member states, and the national parliaments, and thus be fed into the negotiating position adopted by the EU.
Since the European Commission is leading the negotiations, it is responsible for ensuring the greatest possible transparency in the negotiating process. Several public consultations took place at EU level before the talks had even begun. Furthermore, the European Commission has made public and is conducting hearings during each round of negotiations. It has also been hosting various information events. The new Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström announced a transparency initiative on TTIP in November 2014. Since then, the European Commission has published a number of draft versions of the agreement, which the European side has given to the U.S. negotiating partners. To make these legal documents easier to understand, the European Commission has also provided a reader's guide, a glossary on abbreviations and several new factsheets on important subjects such as trade in goods and customs duties, services, public procurement, rules of origin, important export industries etc. The texts can be found here. The complete text of the TTIP agreement will be published after negotiations have been completed, before it is signed and ratified.
A permanent advisory group consisting of seven representatives from the business community and seven representatives from trade unions, consumer associations and NGOs is advising the European Commission throughout the negotiations and has access to negotiation documents.
The EU Commissioner for Trade and the USTR also regularly invite people to the Civil Society Dialogue on the margins of the rounds of talks. The European Commission and the USTR publish reports and lists of participants from these meetings on their respective websites on .
In Germany, the government is involving representatives of organisations of civil society and business associations on a broad basis in order to include all the relevant views. As part of this process, the Economic Affairs Ministry has held several dialogue events on TTIP over the last few months. The German Government plans to continue to keep associations, NGOs, and the media up-to-date on the negotiations. They all have the opportunity to state their views on TTIP in full. These will then be given equal consideration when the Federal Government forms its opinion and adopts a German position.
2. Who is represented on the Economic Affairs Ministry's TTIP Advisory Group, and what are its tasks?
The TTIP Advisory Group set up by the Minister Gabriel held its inaugural meeting on 21 May 2014. The high-level advisory group is composed of various groups and stakeholders: business, consumer protection, trade unions, civil society, churches, academics, culture, agriculture, environment, welfare.
The Economic Affairs Ministry regularly informs the advisory group on the state of play and discusses the core issues of the agreement with it. The comments by the members of the group on the various issues feed into the position taken by the German government. The cooperation with the advisory group aims to involve many different perspectives, to learn from one another, and to weigh up German interests and represent them accordingly. After all, only a balanced agreement will be able to create the desired positive effects without impairing consumer and environmental protection standards or endangering workers' rights and cultural diversity in Europe.
If Europe's negotiation strategies and fall-back positions were published in advance, they would be worthless.
The German government attaches great importance to making the negotiation process very transparent. That is the only way to ensure broad public acceptance of the final agreement. But at the same time, if the negotiations are to be successful, a certain degree of confidentiality is needed, as is customary in such treaty negotiations. If Europe's negotiation strategies and fall-back positions were published in advance, they would be worthless. That would damage the German and European interests in the negotiations with the U.S.
The European Commission acts on the basis of a mandate issued to it by the member states - including Germany.
The European Commission is primarily required to act within the precepts of the mandate given to it by the , i. e. the member states. The Federal Government, just like all the other national governments of the EU member states, was involved in the drafting of the negotiating mandate.
The governments of the EU member states cannot in principle participate directly in the negotiations. Nor can the Federal States, cities, municipalities and parliaments be involved in the immediate negotiation process. The European Commission is conducting the negotiations by way of the . In this committee, Germany and the other EU member states are jointly developing the European positions which the European Commission represents in its negotiations with the partners from the U.S. The German government is represented on the committee by the Economic Affairs Ministry.
The European Commission is required to inform the member states via regular reporting in the Trade Policy Committee about the state of play and to involve them in the establishment of the negotiating position. The European Commission should not disregard the interests of the member states as it conducts the negotiations.
The German government regularly informs the Bundestag about the progress made in the negotiations.
Specifically, it provides the documents which the European Commission transmits to the German government in the course of the TTIP negotiations, such as position papers and reports on the rounds of the negotiations.
Furthermore, all the reports on the sessions of the Trade Policy Committee in Brussels, which covers the negotiations on TTIP, are sent to the Bundestag. Further more, the German government answers questions from Members and sends experts to consultations in the committees of the Bundestag. The German government will continue to inform the Bundestag about the progress made in the negotiations.
In view of the great political significance of TTIP, the documents sent to the Bundestag are also sent to the Bundesrat.
Via the Bundesrat, these documents are made available to the governments of the Federal States.
The European Parliament must agree to the negotiated treaty before the Council of the European Union can take a decision on the conclusion of the agreement.
Apart from this, the European Parliament can adopt resolutions informing the negotiators of its substantive position on TTIP in the context of the ongoing negotiations. Furthermore, the European Commission regularly reports on the progress of the negotiations in the .
The German government takes the view that the European Parliament and the member states will have to ratify TTIP.
The German government believes that TTIP is a "mixed agreement" to which the European Union and the member states are contracting parties. There would be a need for ratification both at European level and by the member states.
In the case of mixed agreements, adoption takes place via a procedure of ratification of the agreement by the member states. The respective constitutional rules apply. In Germany, the Bundestag and the Bundesrat would have to assent (Art. 59 of the Basic Law).
In any case, the European Parliament would have to give its approval. At European level, once the European Parliament has approved the agreement, the Council adopts a decision on the actual approval of the agreement, which is then deemed to be ratified.
9. Will the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), which was rejected by the European Parliament, be renegotiated in TTIP?
ACTA will not be renegotiated.
There will not be an "ACTA by the back door" as a result of the TTIP negotiations. TTIP takes a much broader approach and will cover many sectors of industry. Questions of intellectual property rights - e. g. rules on copyright and trade marks - are only one aspect.
Both the EU and the U.S. already have effective rules on intellectual property rights. The German government is not aiming at a harmonisation of the laws in the EU and the U.S. in this field. TTIP is merely covering a limited number of important issues of intellectual property rights of interest to both sides - the EU and the U.S. In this way, TTIP can make trade easier without watering down the rules.
Background: The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) was negotiated from 2008 until 2011 between the EU, the U.S. and a further 11 countries. It aimed to establish international standards in the fight against product piracy and copyright violations. The European Parliament rejected ACTA in July 2012.
The European Commission has committed itself to informing the public about meetings held by leading EU politicians and senior officials. For example, before each meeting, the Commission publishes the dates, places and the names of the institutions and individuals participating in these meetings, and the subjects on the agenda. In 2015, the Commission will also be tabling a proposal for a binding register of lobbyists covering the Commission itself, the European Parliament, and the Council.
It has also decided to improve transparency with regard to the documents linked to TTIP: TTIP texts are made available to all MEPs, and more texts are being made public. A list of TTIP-related documents has been published as well.
1. Why is it important for Europe and the U.S. to work more closely together on their rules and regulations?
In many cases, the EU and the U.S. are pursuing the same objectives in their regulations, but take different approaches. Companies are often then faced with different product requirements and double licensing tests. This particularly affects small and medium-sized companies. TTIP aims to make the respective regulations more compatible without lowering the level of protection. Reducing these "non-tariff" barriers to trade is in the interest of both sides.
Future debates on liberalising trade will focus mainly on standards and regulations, less on tariffs. In order to help shape the trade agenda of the future and to uphold European interests, the EU must work actively on the designing of global standards. TTIP offers good opportunities for this.
TTIP is expected to result in early talks and better cooperation on technical rules and standards. This affects sectors like the automotive, chemical and pharmaceutical industries, healthcare and information and communication technology. It is important to move closer together in these sectors in the interest of transatlantic economic relations.
Many technical standards are stipulated differently in the U.S. and the EU, but pursue the same aims. This applies, for example, to the size of rear-view mirrors, the strength of metal sheets, the size and load-bearing capacity of rims, the procedures for measuring emissions and the assignment of authorisations. The recognition of equal standards or the abolition of duplicated licensing procedures that are comparable can achieve cost benefits and synergy effects here. The idea is definitely not to lower standards. As a result, small and medium-sized enterprises in particular will receive effective support in terms of internationalisation and accessing dynamically growing markets.
If large trading blocs like the EU and the U.S. agree on a common approach, this can have a knock-on effect globally.
TTIP therefore offers the opportunity to shape high standards at a global level in areas like environmental and consumer protection. In addition, the EU and the U.S. want to cooperate more closely on drafting international standards in international bodies.
No. Harmonisation is not on the agenda. TTIP is not intended to be about harmonising provisions and regulations, but about making the different systems more compatible.
Example in the automotive sector: the safety provisions in the EU and the U.S. differ, but both basically result in equally safe cars. The regulatory authorities should therefore recognise the equivalence of the regulations in the automotive sector without lowering safety, health and environmental standards. Even though the safety standards for cars are very similar in the U.S. and the EU, for example, they are still subjected to different safety tests.
There is particular scope for closer regulatory cooperation on vehicles, medical appliances and pharmaceuticals.
No. It is not a question of the U.S. and the EU undercutting each other and lowering standards. The aim is to bring the respective regulations more into line with each other. However, this does not mean looking for the lowest common denominator. There will be no compromises in terms of safety, consumer protection or the environment.
The high EU standards for the safety and health of consumers should not under any circumstances be lowered. However, we would like to see whether the U.S. and the EU can act in a better and more coordinated manner. Either party will have the right to regulate environmental, safety and health matters as it deems appropriate.
5. How should better cooperation on the harmonisation of rules and regulations be achieved in the future?
Either party is to be able to continue to be guided by its own ideas on regulations to safeguard the public interest at the level of protection it considers to be appropriate. It is already necessary under existing WTO rules to provide scientific justifications for such measures. If the scientific data is insufficient, risk-management measures can be adopted on a precautionary basis.
However, in order to better coordinate provisions and rules on both sides of the Atlantic, there should be an exchange of information between regulators on both sides. Civil society and business should also have an active role.
Furthermore, both parties should pay more attention to the transatlantic implications when establishing their rules. However, the regulatory cooperation should not mean restricting their respective scope to pass their own regulations.
No. Regulatory cooperation will not give preferential treatment to lobbyists or special interest groups.
On the contrary: the general public (NGOs, civil society, the business community) will be able to submit comments.
The specific details of regulatory cooperation will become more concrete as the negotiating process proceeds. Currently, there is no final text.
In general, the EU aims at fostering bilateral exchange between the respective regulatory bodies. The EU also wants to strengthen cooperation for example by
- informing the other side about proposed regulations early on, based on published work programmes from both sides
- assessing the impact of proposed new regulations on transatlantic trade (regulatory impact assessment)
- promoting cooperation based on timely exchange of information and the opportunity to submit comments
- setting up a permanent body for exchange (Regulatory Cooperation Body) - with no decision-making power
No. The regulatory body is not authorised to pass regulations.
Its only function is to channel the EU's and U.S.'s regulatory cooperation and monitor compliance with transparency and cooperation requirements. By doing so, the Regulatory Cooperation Body does not undermine the authority of national parliaments.
Yes. Since 2007, there has been increased regulatory cooperation between the EU and the U.S. under the Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC) agreements.
Consensus was reached for example on issues such as organic food labels, common principles for regulation and mutual recognition of customs simplification and security programmes.
Public service provision and public procurement
Public service provision will not be affected by TTIP. The high level of protection for certain basic services at a local level in relation to water, health and education in Europe is not up for debate.
The negotiating mandate of the European Commission for TTIP, which has been published not least as a result of the advocacy of the German government, stipulates that the high quality of public service provision in the EU . The chief negotiators of the European Commission and the U.S. agree on this, and have confirmed it in public. There will be a special rule for the field of public services which excludes further market liberalisation in favour of the U.S. This means that no obligations to privatise services will be created, and even where there are no monopolies, municipalities can continue to provide their services. Scope for future measures - e. g. a return to municipal service provision - is also retained.
No. TTIP does not stop municipalities from bringing privatised services of general interest back under public control.
TTIP will not contain any rules for new concessions that go beyond European or national law; this also applies to so-called in-house services. The repurchasing of company shares by municipalities falls under private law and is not covered by TTIP negotiations.
Germany is also making sure that there will be enough political leeway with regard to services of general interest in the future. Germany will include special rules on services of general interest in the TTIP agreement which will be excluded from the so-called ratchet clause. The ratchet rule does therefore not apply to areas that Germany regards as sensitive such as services of general interest, education, healthcare, social services and water supply. Germany will continue to be free to define the level of market liberalisation, to lower the current level of liberalisation or even revoke liberalisation in these areas in the future. This will help municipalities that want to re-establish monopolies or grant exclusive rights.
No, water supplies are included under public service provision and will not be affected by TTIP.
The supply of drinking water is one of the traditional fields of municipal service. Here, again, Germany will not take on any fresh obligations to liberalise the markets. This means that the possibilities for German municipalities to supply water will not be restricted by TTIP.
4. What is the German government's stance on the call not to include the water industry in the planned free-trade agreement?
The decision on the water supply should remain with the municipalities - there must be no requirement to insist on bidding procedures for water concessions.
The Concessions Directive adopted by the European Parliament in early 2014 explicitly excludes the water sector. The German government therefore assumes that the granting of water concessions will not be covered by the TTIP negotiations. The decision on the water supply should remain with the municipalities.
Should it nevertheless become necessary, Germany can have an explicit exception integrated into the agreement. This is why the CETA agreement does not include specific requirements for liberalisation or bidding procedures in this area, either. The German government will make sure that this area will also be excluded from TTIP. The decision on the water supply should remain with cities and municipalities.
No. TTIP will not change Germany's education system.
TTIP will not require Germany to make changes to its public education system. Market liberalisation in TTIP only affects the educational services which are provided on a purely private-sector basis, and these were liberalised via the WTO 20 years ago. These include, for example, privately financed universities and language schools, or centres for TOEFL tests (Test of English as a foreign language), which German school pupils need when they apply to U.S. universities.
Laws to safeguard cultural diversity, for example in the production of films and TV programmes, will not be compromised by the negotiations with the U.S.
Maintaining cultural diversity and safeguarding the publicly funded cultural landscape remain key interests of the German government in the context of the negotiations. Under the negotiating mandate, the chapter on services in TTIP will not include the field of audiovisual services - these will therefore remain unaffected by the agreement. This comprehensively safeguards publicly-funded broadcasting in Germany and the various film funding arrangements. As regards the public financing of cultural life, comprising theatres, museums, opera, etc., there will be a horizontal exception when ensures that TTIP will not result in any obligations to cut subsidies.
TTIP must not have a negative impact on current and future funding of culture. The German government will not accept new market liberalisation in this area.
No. The publicly-funded health system is not covered by the negotiations on TTIP. Germany will not enter into any new liberalisation and privatisation commitments in this field either.
TTIP will not affect the coexistence of private and public health insurance systems in Germany. Multinational companies in the hospital sector will not be given any additional scope for legal action.
Likewise, TTIP will have no impact on the accreditation system for health service doctors, and will have just as little effect on the restrictions on licensing pharmacists.
Yes. The planned opening up of the U.S. and European markets will make non-discriminatory participation in public calls to tender possible for companies on both sides.
This is primarily in the interest of the EU, since European companies have until now found it extremely difficult to bid for public contracts in the U.S. Furthermore, restrictions in the commercial services sector should be reduced, security of investment improved, the playing field levelled out, and equal access to public procurement contracts at all levels of government made possible.
Consumer protection, environmental protection, employee protection
No. Neither the European nor the U.S. level of protection in the field of health, foodstuffs or consumer affairs are negotiable in TTIP. This viewpoint of the German Government is fully shared by the European Commission and is reflected in the TTIP negotiating mandate. in Brussels on 26/27 March 2014.
The existing level of protection in the health, food and consumer area is not up for discussion under any of the headings covered by the negotiations. The EU will not repeal any of its basic laws on the protection of people, animals and the environment.
As regards employment protection, the core labour standards of the UN agency, the International Labour Organization (ILO), are crucial for maintaining high social standards and decent working conditions and a sufficient level of protection. The plan is to include a mechanism in the agreement that ensures that these standards are actually implemented. Provisions on corporate social responsibility are also to be included in the agreement.
The negotiations are not about playing off the standards applicable on both sides of the Atlantic against each other. They do aim to make the respective regulations more compatible. However, this does not mean looking for the lowest common denominator, but identifying unnecessary differences and clearing them out of the way. Either party will still have the right to stipulate the level of protection it deems appropriate and to regulate environmental, safety and health matters accordingly.
The U.S. has not ratified all of the ILO core labour standards. However, the , adopted at the 86th edition of the International Labour Conference in Geneva on 18 June 1998 also applies to the U.S.. With this declaration, all ILO members pledge to respect the principles of the declaration even if they have not ratified all of the agreements.
Very high safety standards for food, medicines, machinery, devices and everyday objects apply in the EU and the U.S.
Nevertheless, there are different philosophies as regards risk management.
In the EU, the precautionary principle applies. This means that, if the science is uncertain, provisional risk management measures can be taken to ensure the level of health protection until further scientific information is available for a more comprehensive risk assessment. This should prevent any damage to people and the environment from occurring in the first place.
The assumption in the U.S. is that a product does not present a risk if it proves to be fine in general usage. This is the case as long as there is no clear scientific evidence that it causes harm. Products may be used if possible risks are unlikely.
No. This is because the mutual opening up of agricultural markets will bring benefits both for the EU and for the U.S. The existing high level of protection in Europe will be fully maintained in the case of foodstuffs.
Negotiations on TTIP will therefore deal with easier imports and exports of food. Europe produces high-value foodstuffs which have up until now often been barred from the U.S. market. For example, apples and various types of cheese cannot currently be exported to the U.S. at all. The U.S. charges high tariffs for other products, around 30 percent for meat, 22–23 percent for drinks and up to 139 percent for dairy products. Removing these trade barriers will increase exports from the EU to the U.S.
5. Can U.S. industry use TTIP to force EU markets to open up for chlorinated chicken and hormone-treated meat?
No. Only meat exports from U.S. companies that produce and process meat according to the extensive European specifications will be permitted.
While the use of hormones as a fattening aid is permitted in the U.S., the EU has banned the use of hormones in meat production for many years. For this reason, meat from animals treated with such hormones may not be imported into the EU. The EU does not intend to alter these rules.
The principle governing poultry production is the following: Europe attaches top priority to a hygienic production chain that is certified throughout. Following slaughter, meat may only be cleaned with water. In contrast to this, the meat is disinfected after slaughter in the U.S. Only poultry imports from U.S. companies that document compliance with these high European hygiene standards will be permitted. At the same time, only those substances will be allowed which pose no concerns in terms of health and the environment.
No. The existing strict EU legal provisions will continue to apply. The TTIP negotiations will not result in the EU changing its requirements for the approval and labelling of food, animal feed or seed that contain genetically modified organisms.
The European and U.S. regulations for the approval and import of genetically modified organisms are there to protect the environment and health. Furthermore, in the EU the labelling obligation provides for transparency and enables consumers to make their own decisions. The free trade agreement is not intended to change this.
There is a strict zero tolerance policy both in the EU and in the USA on unlicensed GMOs, i. e. products such as seed, foodstuffs and animal feed may not be imported without approval because they are not fit for sale. However, the approval procedures differ. Permitted genetically modified agricultural raw materials are already on sale in Germany and the EU. The licensing procedure for such imports in the EU is mandatory and very complicated.
The applications for these licences are initially assessed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). The European Commission then presents the member states with a proposal that they can comment on. If the member states do not object, the Commission can approve the genetically modified product within the EU. So far, around 52 genetically modified products have been licensed in this way. The EU import licences are restricted to widely traded genetically modified agricultural products, particularly cotton, maize, soya and rape. Thus, for example, the majority of the annual EU soya imports, totalling around 32 million tonnes (multi-year average), are genetically modified.
In addition to the licence requirement, the EU has a basic labelling obligation for products made from GMOs. This does not include food and animal feed where the genetically modified portion is accidental or technically unavoidable and is no higher than 0.9 percent. This is significantly different from the USA where genetically modified food and animal feed are not subject to any labelling obligations.
No. The opposite is the case. The EU policy on trade is intended to foster sustainable development.
Specific measures to promote trade in environmentally-friendly, energy and resource-efficient goods and technologies, and an environmentally-conscious public procurement procedure will be set out in a separate chapter on sustainability.
The aim is to improve the enforcement of national and international labour and environmental law as a whole and to set new standards for future free trade agreements.
No, TTIP does not include any specific regulations on the use of fracking technologies.
In addition, should a state legally ban fracking, for example, it could not be ordered to change its laws within the framework of investor-to-state dispute settlement. The negative impact of changing any legislation on an investment that has already been made will not justify any claims to compensation. Rather, the change in legislation (e. g. fracking ban) must be arbitrary, excessive or discriminatory.
Public contracting bodies may continue to determine their own award criteria.
In the future, however, bidders from the U.S. and from Europe will be able to participate on an equal footing, according to the specified conditions of tender. Social and ecological aspects can still be specified as criteria in public tendering procedures.
There is no talk at present of recognising the licensing of U.S. pharmaceuticals, for example, in Europe as well.
11. What are the consequences of the planned TTIP agreement for the provision and regulation of services?
The aim of the planned TTIP agreement is the mutual liberalisation of the services markets, which is supposed to facilitate the provision of services in many areas. This ensures that existing standards are not lowered.
Opening the services markets in the EU and the US is supposed to avoid a pressure on the public services to privatise.
12. Does this mutual recognition of standards mean that American products and services that do not meet EU standards are still imported and sold in the EU?
No, it does not. Mutual recognition is only possible where there is a similar level of protection on both sides.
13. Will existing standards for organically farmed (labelled with an EU organic symbol) and regional food are softened in favour of international competitiveness and harmonised standards?
No, they will not. There has long been a recognition agreement with the USA regarding organically grown food, which guarantees that the EU organic standards are maintained.
We do not intend to change these arrangements with the TTIP.
14. Is it to be possible for protected regional specialities like Lübeck marzipan, Black Forest ham or Aachen gingerbread to be manufactured by U.S. companies and imported into the EU?
No. This is because a central aim of the European Commission and the German government in the TTIP negotiations is to protect geographical designations of origin for foodstuffs from Europe and to extend the protection of regional specialities to include the U.S. market.
This opens up new sales opportunities in the U.S. for small and medium-sized enterprises from the EU. U.S. manufacturers should not be permitted to use protected European regional designations for their products.
The protection of geographical designations is one of the priorities in the negotiations with the United States. This is about protecting European intellectual property. It is not about lowering standards of quality and protection in Europe: on the contrary, the aim is to extend the protection of European regional specialities to the U.S. market.
This is an international agreement which is concluded between two states and which grants an investor from one of the states (their home country) certain rights in the other state (the host country).
For example, it deals with the protection of property and protection against expropriation, the free transfer of capital and profits and the right to be treated in the same way as a national of the host country. These issues should also be the subject of negotiations on TTIP.
The German government takes the view that special investment protection provisions are not required in an agreement between the EU and the U.S. as both parties provide sufficient legal protection through their national courts.
The extent of the mutual investments already made by the U.S. in Germany and by Germany in the U.S. shows that both American and German investors consider the existing legal protection in both countries to be adequate.
The European Commission, however, wants to include investment protection provisions in all free trade agreements, including agreements with industrialised countries such as Canada and the U.S.. Many EU member states also want to include investment protection provisions in TTIP, especially eastern European member states. They want to replace their existing high-level protection investment treaties with the U.S.. If they ended these treaties themselves, legal protection provided by the treaties would continue to apply for several years for investments that have already been made (grandfathering period).
A final decision on whether investment protection provisions will be included in the agreement will be made after an evaluation of the results of the negotiations by the member states. It must be ensured at all costs that provisions to protect public interests which arise out of constitutional and democratic processes are not undermined or circumvented. Any claim to market access that is contrary to such rules should not be enforceable.
3. What is the purpose of the consultations on investment protection and investor-to-state dispute settlement?
From the end of March until July 2014, the European Commission held public consultations on the topic of investment protection and investor-to-state dispute settlement in TTIP. The German government considers it extremely important that the public should be involved in the opinion-forming process. Negotiations with the U.S. in this area have been suspended for some time now.
During the consultation period, the Commission received more than 150,000 comments from citizens, companies and interested parties, which were then analysed and published. Many of the comments contained the same wording. The Commission released a in January 2015.
According to the Commission's report, opinions on the design of investment protection provisions and ISDS were mixed and although the EU’s approach in itself was not questioned, discussions were found necessary in four areas: (1) right to regulate, (2) functioning and composition of arbitral tribunals (e.g. code of conduct, authority and appointment of arbiters from a list), (3) differences between investor-to-state dispute settlement and recourse to national courts and (4) Appellate Review Mechanism.
The German government takes the view that special investment protection provisions are not required in an agreement between the EU and the U.S. as foreign investors in the U.S. and Germany enjoy sufficient legal protection through the national courts.
The European Commission and several other EU Member States, however, want to include investment protection provisions in free trade agreements with industrialised countries such as Canada and the U.S. The German government therefore believes that TTIP offers an opportunity to reform the existing investment protection system and to set a standard for modern investment protection and a more law-based, transparent dispute-settlement procedure with a public trade and investment court. Significant progress has already been made: in September 2015, the European Commission presented a proposal for modern investment protection in TTIP which was subsequently discussed with the EU Member States and the European Parliament. Following the European Commission, the EU Member States also opted in favour of a modern and fundamentally reformed investment protection mechanism on 27 November 2015. The revised proposal was sent to the United States and published on 12 November 2015.
Yes. Germany has already entered into investment promotion and protection agreements with around 130 states, predominantly with emerging and developing countries.
Federal guarantees are granted on the basis of such agreements. They provide safeguards for German investment abroad. Investment protection agreements, coupled with investment guarantees, have been an effective instrument, highly valued by business, for protecting foreign investments in regions with an unstable legal situation for over 50 years. This is the only way that the necessary planning security and effective legal protection for investments abroad can come about.
The German government would like to keep the arbitration procedures out of the TTIP negotiations. They are only needed where there is no functioning state based on the rule of law, and that does not pertain to the EU and the U.S.
Investor-to-state dispute settlement procedures will be discussed as part of TTIP in connection with an investment protection agreement. They should help to resolve investment disputes by legal, i. e. non-political, means. In older free-trade agreements, only state-to-state arbitration procedures were envisaged, and so in the event of a legal dispute, the home country of an investor had to initiate dispute settlement proceedings against the host country.
Investor-to-state dispute settlement is different because it enables the investor itself to go to an arbitration court, where it can have the lawfulness of state measures examined on the basis of an investment protection agreement. It should only be possible to initiate investor-to-state dispute settlement as a last resort after exhausting the legal process before the national courts.
There are various different procedural rules on investor-to-state dispute procedures based on investment protection agreements.
Both organisations (ICSID as part of the World Bank group and UNCITRAL as a UN agency) are not private, but international organisations. The rules of procedure issued by these organisations have the force of international law.
No. Investment protection agreements only grant investment protection according to the statutory regulations of the country in which the investment is made (the host country).
The laws of the host country which safeguard human rights, define social and environmental standards or implement binding decisions under international law must therefore be observed by the investor.
The European Commission would like to use TTIP to make it more difficult for foreign investors to submit complaints which abuse the system. By designing the standards of protection appropriately, it is possible to ensure that laws to maintain environmental and social standards are not regarded as discrimination or indirect expropriation. Investor-to-state dispute procedures cannot require states to alter their legislation. But they can order them to pay compensation.
TTIP will only address data protection with respect to trade-related communication.
Basic transatlantic data protection issues are not being negotiated in the TTIP context; free-trade agreements are not the right forum for this. Rather, these issues should be resolved in the committees and regulation (such as the ad-hoc expert group, the EU-U.S. Working Group on Data Protection and the EU-U.S. Safe Harbor Agreement) provided for this purpose.
However, data protection also concerns trade-related communication, i. e. in the case of services in the ICT area, issues to relating to whether and how rules and regulations are compatible ("regulatory compatibility"). Aspects such as these will be dealt with as part of TTIP. Issues relating to data protection in the trade in services, in e-commerce or in the ICT area will be addressed with the aim of reaching a common understanding. However, TTIP will not have any influence on the currently ongoing negotiations on the reform of EU data protection.
The German government also generally advocates high data protection standards in transatlantic relations. The existing data protection standards in Germany and the EU are not a subject for discussion.
There is agreement at European level that the nature and scope of the events, i. e. the alleged collection of communications data of European citizens by U.S. authorities, must be properly investigated.
For this reason, the European Commission has agreed with the U.S. side to discuss aspects of data protection in the context of the U.S. spying programmes in an ad-hoc group of experts, the EU-U.S. Working Group on Data Protection. The sessions of the working group so far have focused particularly on the legal basis of the U.S. authorities' programmes and their control and oversight mechanisms within the authority, in court, and in parliament.