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European Union Will Begin Negotiations for Free Trade Agreement with United States

17.06.2013

Nr 201-E

Last night in Luxembourg at the meeting of European Union trade ministers, a decision was made to give the European Commission a mandate to begin negotiations to conclude a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the Unites States.

Estonia’s Permanent Representative to the European Union Ambassador Matti Maasikas, who represented Estonia at the meeting, said that the European Union and USA are two of the most powerful economic forces in the world and make up about half of the global economy. “The negotiations for a free trade agreement between them will be the most ambitious trade negotiations ever held, which have the potential to shape global trade standards for decades,” Maasikas noted.

Maasikas explained that the primary point of contention, the issue of audiovisual services, was resolved in such a way that the initial mandate for negotiations does not extend to this topic. However, the member states agreed that the European Commission, which will hold the trade negotiations in the name of the European Union, can come before the member states again with a proposal to change the mandate.

“It’s no secret that interest groups in America also place great pressure on their government to leave out some sector or another. We will see how the Americans react and whether they remove some issue from their mandate that is of great interest to the European Union. Then we will see whether there is reason to demand a change in our positions,” the ambassador commented.

“Estonia, like most of the other member states, desires an agreement that is as broad as possible and does not leave out any sectors, including audiovisual services to a limited extent,” Maasikas added. “When the range of topics on the negotiating table is as broad as possible, then the USA and European Union will have more opportunities to make mutually beneficial trade-offs. If some sectors are left out, these opportunities will decrease,” he confirmed.

The primary goal of the agreement between the European Union and the USA is to abolish non-tariff obstacles and equalise regulations. It should lead to the markets opening up to each other for the trade of goods and services, investments, and government procurements.


Additional information:
Helen Ennok
Press spokesperson, Estonia’s Permanent Representation to the EU
+32 474 98 16 57

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