5 Fast Facts on the US-EU Free Trade Agreement

5 Fast Facts on the US-EU Free Trade Agreement

What is the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership?

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is the name of a trade agreement that is going to be negotiated between the European Union and the United States. The negotiations will aim at removing trade barriers (tariffs, unnecessary regulations, restrictions on investment etc.) in a wide range of economic sectors, including footwear, so as to make it easier to buy and sell goods and services between the EU and the US. The EU and US also want to make it easier for their companies to invest in each others economy.

Why should we launch negotiations for an EU-US trade and investment agreement now?

The decision to start negotiations is in large part due to the continuing economic crisis and the stalling of the multilateral trade negotiations in the World Trade Organization – the so-called Doha Development Agenda. A trade and investment agreement between the world’s two largest economies presents the opportunity for boosting growth and jobs on both sides of the Atlantic.

What’s in it for Footwear?

Duties on imported footwear are higher than any other consumer good in the United States.  The industry should take advantage of any opportunities to eliminate these duties, which were established in 1930.  In 2012 American companies paid $160 million in duties for footwear from the European Union; over the last five years these duties have burdened the industry by nearly $700 million.

Who will be doing the negotiating?

In trade policy, the European Commission negotiates on behalf of the EU and its 28 Member States: one voice representing 500m people is more effective than if each EU Member State tried to negotiate separately. The TTIP is no exception and so the Commission, led by EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht, will represent the EU at the negotiating table. For the US, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) will be the main negotiator.

How long will the negotiations take?

Both the EU and US want to avoid years of talks. The general idea is that it should be possible to get an agreement within a couple of years, but, of course, the most important thing is to get a good result.

The first round of the trade and investment talks took place in Washington, D.C. July 8-12, 2013. Negotiating groups have set out respective approaches and ambitions in as much as twenty various areas that the TTIP is set to cover. The negotiators also met with 350 stakeholders to listen to formal presentations and answer questions. The second round of negotiations will take place in October 2013, in Brussels.