Plenary speech on trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership

Marietje
Mr President, a year and a half ago – with the necessary heavy lifting and political leadership – we kicked off the negotiations on a comprehensive trade and investment partnership. But those days, when Vice-President Biden liked to talk about finishing the deal on one tank of gas, seem a little bit far behind us at this moment, one-and-a half years down the road. It seems as though the Americans have chosen an exceptionally environmentally friendly car to drive in. In any case, I think that they and maybe all of us should step on the gas to keep the very important momentum that started these negotiations.

For our group, jobs and growth without government investment, the opportunity to set global standards and meet competition from emerging economies, and eliminating unnecessary bureaucratic burdens, remain the essential points on the horizon. We have to find ways to preserve our cherished standards when it comes to food safety and the environment, as well as fundamental rights, such as the right to privacy.

These are points which are being raised by people all over the EU, and I think it is good to have an active debate. Transparency and active engagement are essential to acquiring consent at the end of the day. So, Commissioner, my question is: how will you help dispel the feeling that quite a few people have that there is not enough clarity on where the process of negotiation stands, and that there may not be enough space to participate while there may be enough space for corporations to have access?

Now the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) consultation seems to show that there is great interest. I have heard a number of rumours about the amount of consultation submissions which were received. Perhaps you could also say something about the amount of responses that came in, as well as when you expect an initial assessment or final assessment. Do you believe that TTIP is possible, from the American point of view, without ISDS? Is this a negotiable point from their side? But with all these challenges, we might almost forget that there are also non-controversial issues and opportunities, such as procurement.

For the EU, it is crystal clear that the US market should open up for our businesses, to end explicit protectionism through the ‘Buy American’ and ‘Buy America’ Acts, as well as implicit protectionism through national security clauses, as seen in the Jones Act, which restricts access for European ship builders and operators, as well as domestic flights by European airliners. Is there any progress on this point?