Brussels sets advisory group on EU-US trade deal

The European Commission launched on Monday (27 January) a special advisory group of experts to give fresh input on all issues being discussed at the EU-US negotiating table for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

“The creation of this group confirms the Commission’s commitment to close dialogue and exchange with all stakeholders in the TTIP talks, in order to achieve the best result for European citizens,” read a Commission press release.

The group, composed of 14 advisors from different consumer, labour and business groups, will help the EU executive to frame the discussion at the negotiating table so that Europe’s high standards of consumer and environmental protection are fully respected.

This is the second move taken by the Commission to ensure transparency and avoid a replay of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) which was rejected by the European Parliament after it was approved by all member states.

Last week, the Commission also decided to postpone negotiations on an investor-state dispute settlement mechanism and launch a consultation on which to build future talks on the controversial issue.

The so-called “investor-state” dispute clauses empower EU and US-based corporations to lodge private legal cases directly against governments. The Commission’s initial proposal enabled US companies investing in Europe to by-pass European courts and directly challenge governments at international tribunals, whenever they find that laws in the area of public health, environmental or social protection infringe their right to do business. EU companies investing abroad would have had the same rights in the United States.

The advisory group (which will operate in line with the Commission’s standard Rules on Expert Groups) met informally on 21 January 2014 to discuss initial working arrangements and practical details. The first full working session will be held on 25 February 2014.

Source: EurActiv


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