TTIP Negotiations: 12th Round Ends With Plan To Hurry Between Official Rounds 26/02/2016 by Monika Ermert for Intellectual Property Watch 4 Comments Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)By July, trade negotiators from the United States and the European Union want to present a draft text that only has brackets for the “most sensitive issues” in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). This was announced by Ignacio Bercero, chief negotiator for the European Union, and his US counterpart Dan Mullaney during a press conference today after this week’s 12th round of TTIP negotiations in Brussels. Rejecting a “TTIP lite,” Mullaney underlined the US expectation that finalising the trade agreement this year would allow the US and the EU to be “the standard setters rather than the standard takers” in international trade, echoing recent political speeches. To stick to the highly ambitious time plan, not only have negotiators been practically “in daily contact” over recent weeks, Mullaney reported. Also, the official “end” of the 12th round will not be the practical one. Instead, negotiations continue next week when two of the hard issues for the transatlantic partners are on the table: public procurement and geographical indications, for both of which there are now proposals from both sides, according to the Bercero and Mullaney. Note: European Commission list of all TTIP documents here. The Commission list of stakeholders at the 12th round is available here. Not ISDS, but an Alternative Negotiations this week included two of the controversial topics of the mega-trade deal, namely regulatory cooperation, especially in manufacturing and services and investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanisms. “We do not propose an ISDS chapter,” Bercero said. “We propose to have a reformed approach of investor protection.” The European Commission, after facing opposition from the public and the EU Parliament, held a public consultation and now published a proposal it hopes will calm the critics. A first critical analysis by the Corporate Europe Observatory just before the 12th round warned that the changes were just cosmetic. The proposed regulatory cooperation, Mullaney underscored, aimed to “bridge wherever possible the regulatory divergences and promote greater regulatory convergence, all without lowering the environmental, health and safety standards our citizens have come to expect.” Advances were also made, according to Mullaney, with regard to good regulatory practices. Competition and public comment were topics under discussion over the week. The latter, according to Mullaney, would not diminish the role of parliaments as legislators. TTIP Protest as Vocal as TTIP Promotion Support for TTIP is at an all-time low, said Maritta Strasser from Campact, one of the German NGOs that are holding a two-day workshop on TTIP starting today. The organisations have collected 3 million signatures against the trade deal and rallied a quarter of a million people for a protest march in Berlin last year. Instead of being content with the open stakeholder meetings (that contrary to earlier trade negotiations are an official part of TTIP rounds), the activists meet Friday and Saturday in Kassel to discuss next steps for their campaign, together with NGOs from other countries including Public Citizen from the US. For the NGOs, consumer and environmental organisations, TTIP as well as CETA (with Canada), TISA (services agreement) and other free trade negotiations remain “the reflection of a bad policy.” During this week’s 12th round, 30 Greenpeace activists chained themselves to the entrance of the conference venue protesting “TTIP dead end trade deal,” while US activist organisation Knowledge Ecology International during the stakeholder meeting inside laid out its wishlist for a more acceptable trade list during the stakeholder meeting. This included focusing more on R&D instead of strengthening copyright, facilitate the introduction of low-cost biosimiliar drugs with open source know-how and competitive supplies, mandate research exceptions for patents; and ratify and implement one treaty already agreed on, the Marrakesh Treaty on global access to copyrighted material for visually impaired people. Both Bercero and Mullaney, when asked during the press conference today, highly welcomed the criticism but expressed their aim to convince the critics of the benefit. Certainly that is even more ambitious than the plan to finalise TTIP in 2016. Image Credits: European Commission Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Monika Ermert may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org."TTIP Negotiations: 12th Round Ends With Plan To Hurry Between Official Rounds" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.