This TTIP meeting focused on how to achieve the two main goals of regulatory coherence: cooperation on future regulations and making existing regulations more compatible, with particular regard to delivering a substantive TTIP agreement in 2015.
Trade in goods and services between the EU and the US amounts to nearly $1 trillion each year, and total bilateral investment between them to nearly $4 trillion. TTIP aims to remove trade barriers in a wide range of economic sectors to make it easier to buy and sell goods and services between the EU and the US. The agreement could add as much as €120 billion to the EU economy, €90 billion to the US economy, and as much as €100 billion to the rest of the world.
Many of the gains are anticipated to come from tackling non-tariff barriers, on a scale not seen before in a trade deal. If TTIP is to be agreed by 2015 much work has to be done.
The complexity of regulatory barriers and their entrenched nature makes overcoming differences difficult. If TTIP is to reach its full potential and act as a platform for removing regulatory obstacles, regulatory differences must be addressed swiftly. It will not be enough just to identify minor changes and improvements.
The opportunities for regulatory coherence certainly exist. This conference discussed how TTIP can build on these promising prospects to deliver benefits for businesses and consumers, while not reducing the levels of protection expected in developed countries.
Touchstone blog: Time for some TTIP honesty and transparency