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Member States oppose TTIP non-central regulatory cooperation

A dozen EU Member States are refusing to include non-central level regulatory cooperation in the Union’s textual proposal for regulatory cooperation in the trade talks with the United States, a source close to the negotiations told this website.

In the European Commission’s first draft proposal for the initial provisions for a chapter on regulatory cooperation for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations, published by this website on 7 January (see document), the Executive had suggested that the chapter apply to regulatory acts “at central and at non-central level” which have or could have a “significant impact on trade or investment between the Parties”. The chapter would also apply to acts at central and non-central level in specific areas to be defined at a later stage. And finally, the Commission had suggested that the Parties “endeavour to ensure compliance with this chapter by authorities at levels of government lower than EU Member State or US State level”.

A second draft dated 23 January (see document) scraps the non-central level regulatory cooperation from the overall scope of the chapter.

However, a new article (article 12) specifically refers to “exchanges on regulatory acts at non-central level”. The draft article stipulates that the Parties agree to enter into regulatory exchanges upon a “substantiated” request by one of the Parties “with regard to a planned or existing regulatory act of US States or of the central national authorities of EU Member States which have or are likely to have a significant impact on trade and investment between the EU and the US.” And a nota bene clearly stresses that non-central acts are “only covered by the cooperation provisions in article 12”.

Third Draft

While non-central level regulatory cooperation is clearly watered-down in this second draft compared with the first draft, sources have told EU Trade Insights that the Commission and Member States are in the process of drafting up a third version of the textual proposal, following expert-level talks held on 26 January. In this third draft, which should also be the final one to be submitted to US negotiators next week, the EU is expected to jettison almost all mentions of non-central regulatory cooperation.

Instead of the aforementioned article 12, the new textual proposal should leave open the option of non-central cooperation by including a placeholder where non-central provisions could be added later in the talks, a source explained.

The Trade Policy Committee is expected to further discuss the issue at its next meeting on 30 January, ahead of the eighth round of the TTIP talks taking place in Brussels.

US proposal

The United States has already made available its textual proposal on regulatory cooperation to EU negotiators, sources say.

The text, submitted in July 2014, however lacks ambition and does not include any provisions related to regulator-to-regulator cooperation, several officials have noted. Instead, the US textual proposal outlines arrangements on transparency, such as early warning provisions or stakeholder consultations.