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Survey: Support Builds For EU-U.S. Trade Deal

By Ideas Lab Staff July 19, 2013

A week after the close of the first round of TTIP negotiations, a new survey reveals policy leaders' opinions about the deal.

An overwhelming majority of surveyed policy leaders support an EU-U.S. trade agreement, according to a survey released this week by APCO Insight, in collaboration with EurActiv.com in Brussels and the National Journal in Washington.

In fact, 74 percent of the 700 EU and U.S. officials and executives surveyed said they support the passage of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which is the EU-U.S. trade deal that proponents argue will result in more jobs and growth to both sides of the Atlantic.

The first round of the EU-U.S. negotiations for the TTIP closed this month with EU Chief Negotiator Ignacio Garcia-Bercero saying it was “a very productive week” for the talks in Washington, D.C., which paved the way “for a good second round of negotiations in Brussels in October.”

The goal of the TTIP is to “liberalize as much as possible trade and investment between (the U.S. and the EU),” according to a news release from the Delegation of the European Union to the United States. In particular, the agreement will further open EU markets, eliminate all tariffs on trade, strengthen rules-based investment to grow the world’s largest investment relationship and obtain improved market access on trade in services, the White House’s Office of the Press Secretary reports.

Trade associations in both the U.S. and the EU could be key players in TTIP talks. EurActiv.com reports that the survey was the first of its kind to identify characteristics that define the effectiveness of trade associations in achieving public policy priorities of their members. According to the survey, which also gathered viewpoints of 55 trade associations, 75 percent of respondents agreed that trade associations will be important in advocating for an EU-US trade. Also, 77 percent believe the TTIP would lead to more collaboration between trade associations representing business interests in Washington and Brussels.

The survey was released a week after the first round of negotiations, during which negotiators discussed a range of areas covered by the TTIP – market access for agricultural and industrial goods, intellectual property rights, sustainable development and regulatory issues, among other topics. The U.S. and EU haven’t always agreed on all areas, but a Financial Times article states the two entities are “attempting to come together in belief that it will bolster their sluggish economies on both sides of the Atlantic.”

A recent Foreign Affairs article argues that negotiators also should focus on another topic – inconsistent regulations, which the article’s authors argue is the real obstacle to transatlantic commerce.

“Reducing divergence and duplication in transatlantic rules is possible, but it will require broadening the objectives of the TTIP talks beyond free trade,” wrote authors Thomas J. Bollyky, a Council on Foreign Relations senior fellow, and Anu Bradford, professor of law at Columbia Law School. “The negotiations should seek to ensure that the United States and Europe remain standard makers, rather than standard takers in the global economy.”

A CFR Renewing America blog post about the article argues that “disparate and overlapping regulatory policies are the central hindrance to greater trade between the U.S. and the EU. If TTIP negotiators focus on sectors in which the two share similar trade and regulation goals, the agreement could serve as a necessary foundation for future transatlantic and global trade cooperation.”