Officials from the European Union and the United States gathered in Brussels for the 12th round of negotiations over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) from February 22 to 26.
At the end of the meeting, chief EU negotiator Ignacio Bercero and chief U.S. negotiator Dan Mullaney announced that a consolidated draft would be prepared by July 2016, with brackets only for the “most sensitive issues.” According to Mullaney, finalizing TTIP in 2016 would allow the partners to be “the standard setters rather than the standard takers” in international trade. Two other negotiating rounds are planned before the summer break. The 13th round took place in New York, from April 25 to 29.
Among the topics discussed in February was the investor–state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism. Bercero highlighted that the EU is proposing an Investment Court System (ICS) composed by a standing tribunal and an appeals mechanism. But the United States is not ready to abandon its long-standing ISDS model recently reproduced in the TPP. Bercero said the partners are “working on the basis of textual proposals from both sides” and trying to find convergence.
TTIP faces wide opposition, particularly in Europe. Over 100,000 Dutch citizens have signed a petition demanding a referendum on the agreement. The German Advisory Council on the Environment (SRU), which advises the federal government, indicated that the agreement could endanger the environment and democracy. In Spain, the deputy president of the General Council of Attorneys, Oriol Rusca, declared that TTIP is a threat to all citizens.