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Expectations of France and Germany regarding the transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (April 22, 2016)

France and Germany support the conclusion of a free trade agreement with the United States that is ambitious, balanced and mutually beneficial.

  • Non-tariff issues are key if we want to have an ambitious and balanced agreement. This includes, inter alia, regulatory convergence, meaningful commitments for public procurement, services, geographical indications, removal of unnecessary non-tariff barriers especially in the industrial, food and agricultural sectors while respecting the choices and preferences of our respective societies, and ambitious commitments in the area of sustainable development and corporate social responsibility. Substantial tariff eliminations are therefore an important however not a sufficient element of the agreement.
  • On regulatory convergence, we expect concrete results in sectors such as automobile, engineering industries, textile, cosmetics, sanitary and phytosanitary issues, pharmaceuticals, but also an enabling transparent institutional framework, with only a consultative role, for the further development of common transatlantic standards. It should be based on the highest social, environmental and safety requirements while maintaining our right to regulate and adopt measures according to our respective regulatory or administrative procedures.
  • On public procurement, we look for an agreement that would give real opportunities to European companies of all sizes, in providing utilities, goods and services for which their know-how is recognized around the world such as: urban transport; railway equipment; software; roads and bridges; medical devices; equipment and services accompanying utilities such as airports. This requires commitments taken at all levels on the American side, and not only at the federal level. It also requires more transparency for SMEs and improved market access for them.
  • On services, we expect concrete results on our shared European offensive interests. This includes those services sectors which are essential for trade in goods (such as transport and financial services) or which provide the backbone for the digital economy (such as telecommunications and e-commerce). Addressing transparency for measures at the US sub-federal level and mobility issues is also important. We intend to fully maintain our necessary policy space in particular regarding the provision and support of public services, cultural diversity notably through the exclusion of audio-visual services. The protection of personal data has to be dealt with outside trade negotiations.
  • On agriculture, we expect a meaningful result regarding geographical indications, including the elimination of US semi-generic use of EU wines’ appellations. Moreover, the acceptability of any further moves on agricultural tariffs will directly depend on the removal of US non-tariffs barriers that prevent European food and agricultural goods from entering the US market aside from significant progresses in other fields of the negotiation. This agreement has to be a win-win. Our production scheme, our “agricultural Model”, is completely different from the one of the United States and these differences have to be taken into account when the EU negotiates with one of the key agricultural players in the world. In any case, we need to preserve our sensitive agricultural products.
  • On sustainable development, we want an ambitious and effective chapter. We would like the US to take ambitious commitments in labor and environment in order to set up a model through this agreement. This requires TTIP to go beyond existing Trade agreements in effectively promoting and implementing labour and environmental protection standards.
  • On investment protection and the investment dispute resolution, the TTIP is an opportunity to modernize investment protection provisions by ensuring the States’ sovereign ability to regulate. The TTIP should also pave the way for an ambitious reform of investment dispute resolution by establishing an independent, public and transparent Investment Court System. The agreement reached in CETA is an essential benchmark in this regard.
  • On “rules of origin” for manufactured goods we need to agree on a set of rules that do not restrict our export opportunities.

Negotiators must take concrete steps forward on those key issues, otherwise there will be no possible outcome at the end of this year.

Finally, the TTIP that we want is an agreement that is favourable to our workers, consumers and enterprises alike. In order to be acceptable, TTIP must be recognised as a “mixed” agreement, meaning ratification by national Parliaments. It must also be negotiated in a transparent manner in order to associate national Parliaments and to enable the public and all stakeholders to contribute to this important transatlantic project.

Matthias Machnig, State Secretary in charge of at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, Germany
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Matthias Fekl, Secretary of State, in charge of the Department of Foreign Trade, Tourism and French Nationals Abroad at French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International development, France

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