The ECR Policy Group on TTIP was this week joined by Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom for a discussion on the latest developments in the negotiations with the US, as well as a wider discussion on the Commission's trade policy strategy.
Malmstrom addressed the MEPs following the 11th negotiating round in Miami, Florida, during which the Swede informed Members about a successful exchange of tariff offers, which will eventually reach 97% of all tariff lines. The Commissioner also detailed other areas of success, such as in regulatory cooperation on cars and pharmaceuticals, whilst highlighting the areas where progress is still to be made, such as in energy, investment and public procurement. She made it clear that lots of work is to be done, including at the most senior political levels, to reach agreements ahead of the next round of negotiations early next year, where everything will be on the table.
ECR Members then grilled the Commissioner on a number of different trade issues, in response to the Commission's plans for it's trade agenda as set out this month. Among the issues that Members raised were the new Investment Court System (ICS), especially US reaction towards the Commission's proposal; transparency in negotiations and the contemporary widening of access to documents; SMEs and their importance in TTIP; and the conclusion of the free trade agreement with Canada (CETA).
Following the meeting, Emma McClarkin MEP, the ECR coordinator on trade, said:
"I am delighted to have welcomed the Commissioner to engage with us on a number of key issues on the trade agenda at the moment. I am sure the Commissioner is aware that she is among friends when she comes to speak to us, as we want to help her fulfil her ambitions which meet the ECR's Prague Declaration on opening up free and fair trade.
At the same time trade has become a popular topic among the wider public, where important questions are raised about various aspects of our trade deals. We take all views seriously and meeting the Commissioner today has allowed us to constructively voice the concerns of our citizens, which is so important in our roles as public office holders.
I look forward to continuing working with the Ambassador and her hard working team in the hope that this mandate can be a success story for the trade agenda."