TRANSATLANTIC TRADE AND INVESTMENT PARTNERSHIP : TTIP NEGOTIATORS END FIRST "WARM-UP" ROUND.
EU and US negotiators concluded, on 12 July, the first round of Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) talks. This round, which started on 8 July in Washington, was meant to be a warm-up session before substantive talks can be held at a later stage.
This round helped "share initial thoughts about how to approach certain issues, to discuss our priorities and to discuss our objectives," US Chief Negotiator Dan Mullaney explained, on 12 July. "We have paved the way for a substantive second round of talks to be held in Brussels," EU Chief Negotiator Ignacio Garcia Bercero told the press. "The first round has confirmed that both sides are committed to a very high level of ambition," Garcia Bercero said, explaining it was important to strive for an ambitious deal to boost the economies on both sides of the Atlantic.
To share these "initial thoughts," 15 different working groups were set up during the week to discuss a wide array of topics, such as investment, government procurement, cross-border services, rules of origin, raw materials, intellectual property rights, dispute settlement, competition or regulatory issues. Over 60 EU diplomats joined Garcia Bercero in Washington to cover the range of topics.
"We have set out our approach and have identified various areas of convergence," Garcia Bercero said. He recognised that a number of divergences had already been identified and that both sides have started to explore how they can be resolved.
In the afternoon of 12 July, the negotiators were expected to continue discussions over market access, financial services and environment.
A second round will be held in Brussels in October, and a third round should be scheduled before the end of 2013.