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INTA Resolution on EU-US trade deal

Once more the EU institutions are hardly able to back up the main concerns of the civil society.  Last 25 April 2013 the EU Parliament International Trade Committee adopted a Motion, proposed by the President Vital Moreira, to be discussed by the European Parliament in May, about EU trade and investment negotiations with the USA. INTA motion fails in using properly the few powers given to the Parliament on trade and investment. Instead of designing a model of trade and investment policy in the interests of the people and the planet, the INTA proposal backs up the vision of the Commission of a corporate-agenda as the EU way out of the crisis. The motion was approved with 23 votes in favour, 5 against (2 Greens and 2 GUE/Left and one S&D), and one abstension (…)

 

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION

to wind up the debate on the statement by the Commission pursuant to Rule 110(2) of the Rules of Procedureon EU trade and investment negotiations with the United States of America

(2013/2558(RSP)

Vital Moreiraon behalf of the Committee on International Trade

B7 0000/2013

European Parliament resolution on EU trade and investment negotiations with the United States of America

(2013/2558(RSP))

The European Parliament,

–       having regard to the Joint Statement of the EU-US Summit issued on 28 November 2011 and the Joint Statement of the EU-US Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC) issued on 29 November 2011,

–       having regard to the Final Report of the High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth (HLWG) of 11 February 2013[1],

–       having regard to the Joint Statement of 13 February 2013 by US President Barack Obama, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy[2],

–       having regard to the conclusions of the European Council of 7-8 February 2013[3],

–       having regard to its earlier resolutions, in particular the resolution of 23 October 2012 on trade and economic relations with the United States[4],

–       having regard to the Joint Statement of the 73rd Interparliamentary Meeting of the Transatlantic Legislators’ Dialogue (TLD) held in Washington on 30 November-1 December 2012,

–       having regard to the Final Project Report by the Centre for Economic Policy Research (London) of March 2013 entitled “Reducing Transatlantic Barriers to Trade and Investment: An Economic Assessment”[5],

–       having regard to Rule 110(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.     whereas the EU and the US are world’s major global traders and investors, accounting together for nearly half of world GDP and one third of world trade;

B.      whereas the EU and the US markets are deeply integrated, on average close to 2 billion EUR of goods and services being traded bilaterally each day supporting millions of jobs in both economies, and whereas EU and US investments are the real driver of the transatlantic relationship, bilateral investments totalling more than 2.394 trillion EUR in 2011;

C.     whereas according to the Impact Assessment Report prepared by the European Commission, on the basis of a report by the Centre for Economic Policy Research, an ambitious and comprehensive transatlantic trade and investment partnership –once fully implemented – could bring significant economic gains as a whole for the EU (119,2 billion EUR a year) and the US (94,9 billion EUR a year), including that EU exports to the US could rise by 28% and total EU exports could increase by 6%, benefitting EU exporters of goods and services as well as EU consumers;

D.     whereas the EU and US share common values, comparable legal systems and high, even if different, standards of labour, consumer and environmental protection;

E.      whereas the global economy faces challenges and the emergence of new actors, and both the EU and the US must exploit the full potential of closer economic cooperation to leverage the benefits of international trade in overcoming the economic crisis and for a sustained global economic recovery;

F.      whereas, following the EU-US Summit in November 2011, the HLWG was tasked to identify options for increasing trade and investment to support mutually beneficial job creation, economic growth and competitiveness;

G.     whereas the HLWG has jointly analysed a wide range of potential options for expanding transatlantic trade and investment, and has in its Final Report reached the conclusion that a comprehensive trade and investment agreement would provide the most significant benefit to both economies;

H.     whereas the EU is convinced that developing and strengthening the multilateral system is the crucial objective, but whereas that does not preclude bilateral agreements going beyond WTO commitments and being complementary to multilateral rules, since both regional agreements and free trade agreements lead to increasing harmonization of standards and broader liberalization favourable to the multilateral trading system;

I.       whereas the Commission has, on 12 March 2013, proposed authorising the opening of negotiations and draft negotiating directives for the consideration of the Council;

The strategic, political and economic context

1.      Believes that the strategic importance of the EU-US economic relationship should be re-affirmed and deepened, and that the EU and the US should design common approaches to global trade, investment and trade-related issues such as standards, norms and regulations, in order to develop a broader transatlantic vision and a common set of strategic goals;

2.      Considers that it is crucial for the EU and the US to realise the untapped potential of a truly integrated transatlantic market, in order to maximise the creation of decent jobs and stimulate smart, strong, sustainable and balanced growth potential; considers this to be particularly timely in the light of the ongoing economic crisis, state of the financial markets and financing conditions, high level of public debt, high unemployment rates and modest growth projections on both sides of the Atlantic, and of the benefits offered by a truly coordinated response to these shared problems;

3.      Believes that the EU should draw on its vast experience negotiating deep and comprehensive bilateral trade agreements to achieve even more ambitious results with the US;

The HLWG Final Report

4.      Welcomes the release of the HLWG Final Report and fully endorses the recommendation to launch negotiations for a comprehensive trade and investment agreement;

5.      Welcomes the emphasis in the Final Report on: (i) ambitiously improving reciprocal market access for goods, services, investment and public procurement at all levels of government; (ii) reducing non-tariff barriers (NTBs) and enhancing the compatibility of regulatory regimes; and (iii) developing common rules to address shared global trade challenges and opportunities;

6.      Supports the view that, given already-existent low average tariffs, the key to unlocking the potential of the transatlantic relationship lies in the tackling of NTBs, consisting mainly of customs procedures, technical standards, and behind-the-border regulatory restrictions; supports the objective proposed by the HLWG to move progressively towards an even more integrated transatlantic marketplace;

7.      Welcomes the recommendation to explore new means of reducing unnecessary costs and administrative delays stemming from regulation, while achieving the levels of health, safety and environmental protection that each side deems appropriate, or while otherwise meeting legitimate regulatory objectives;

Negotiating mandate

8.      Reiterates its support for a deep and comprehensive trade and investment agreement with the US, that would support the creation of high-quality jobs for European workers, would directly benefit the European consumers, would open new opportunities for EU companies, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), to sell goods and provide services in the US, would ensure full access to public procurement markets in the US, and would improve opportunities for EU investments in the US;

9.      Calls on the Council to follow up on the recommendations contained in the HLWG Final Report and to authorise the Commission to start negotiations for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement with the US;

10.    Underlines that TTIP should be ambitious and binding on all levels of government on both sides of the Atlantic, including all regulators and other competent authorities; stresses that the agreement should lead to lasting genuine market openness on a reciprocal basis and trade facilitation on the ground, and should pay particular attention to structural ways of achieving greater transatlantic regulatory convergence; considers that the agreement should not risk prejudicing the Union’s cultural and linguistic diversity, including in the audiovisual and cultural services sector;

11.    Considers it essential for the EU and its Member States to maintain the possibility of preserving and developing their cultural and audiovisual policies, and to do so in the context of their existing laws, standards and agreements; calls, therefore, for the exclusion of cultural and audiovisual services, including those provided online, to be clearly stated in the negotiating mandate;

12.    Stresses that intellectual property is one of the driving forces of innovation and creation and a pillar of the knowledge-based economy and that the agreement should include strong protection of precisely and clearly defined areas of intellectual property rights (IPR), including geographical indications, and be consistent with international agreements; believes that other areas of divergence in IPR should be solved in line with international standards of protection;

13.    Considers that the agreement should guarantee full respect for EU fundamental rights’ standards; reiterates its support for a high level of protection of personal data, which should benefit consumers on both sides of the Atlantic; considers that the agreement should take into account General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) provisions on the protection of personal data;

14.    Recalls the importance of the transport sector for growth and jobs, especially in aviation where the EU-US markets account for 60% of world air traffic; stresses that the negotiations should meaningfully address current restrictions on maritime and air transport services of European business, including in relation to foreign ownership of airlines and reciprocity on cabotage, as well as maritime cargo screening;

15.    Highlights the value of risk-based assessment and information sharing between both parties regarding market surveillance and the identification of counterfeit products;

16.    Welcomes, in particular, the HLWG’s recommendation that the EU and the US address environment and labour aspects of trade and sustainable development; considers that the experience of previous EU trade agreements and the long-lasting EU-US commitments should be taken into account to strengthen the development and enforcement of labour and environmental laws and policies and promote International Labour Organization (ILO) core standards and benchmarks, decent work and sustainable development; encourages to harmonize Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) standards; recognises that the achievement of the common standards is likely to present both technical and political challenges, and emphasises that the common goal should be to ensure that there is no diminution in the environmental ambitions;

17.    Emphasises the sensitivity of certain fields of negotiations, such as the agricultural sector where the perception of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), cloning and consumer health is divergent in between the US and the EU; sees an opportunity in enhanced cooperation in agriculture trade and stresses the importance of an ambitious and balanced outcome in this field; stresses that the agreement must not undermine the fundamental values of either side, for example the precautionary principle in the EU; calls on the US to lift the import ban on EU beef products as a trust-building measure;

18.    Stresses that the financial services must be included in the TTIP negotiations, and calls in this context for particular attention to be paid to equivalence, mutual recognition, convergence and extraterritoriality as those are central considerations for both sides; underlines that convergence towards a common financial regulatory framework between the EU and US would be beneficial; highlights that whilst market access must be regarded as a positive step, prudential supervisory processes are vital to obtain proper convergence; stresses that negative impact of extraterritoriality should be minimised and should not be allowed to detract from a consistent approach to financial services regulation;

19.    Re-affirms its support to the dismantling of unnecessary regulatory barriers and encourages the Commission and the US Administration to include in the agreement mechanisms (including early upstream regulatory cooperation) aiming at avoiding future barriers; considers that better regulation and the reduction of regulatory and administrative burdens are issues which must be at the forefront when negotiating the TTIP, and that greater transatlantic regulatory convergence should lead to more streamlined regulation which is easy to understand and apply, in particular for SMEs;

20.    Reiterates its conviction that an EU-US comprehensive trade and investment agreement has the potential to lead to a win-win situation, beneficial for both economies, and that a deeper degree of integration would multiply the gains considerably to both economies; is convinced that the alignment of EU and US regulatory technical standards, where possible, would ensure that the EU and the US will continue to set global standards and would pave the way for international standards; takes the firm view that the benefits of this agreement in terms of international trade and standardisation must be carefully considered and formulated;

21.    Recalls the need for pro-active outreach and continuous and transparent engagement by the Commission with a wide range of the stakeholders, including business, environmental, agricultural, consumer, labour and other representatives, throughout the negotiation process, in order to ensure fact-based discussions, build trust in the negotiations, obtain proportionate input from various sides and foster public support by taking stakeholders’ concerns into consideration; encourages all stakeholders to actively participate and put forward initiatives and information relevant to the negotiations;

22.    Cautions that quality should prevail over time, and trusts that the negotiators will not rush to a deal that does not deliver tangible and substantive benefits to our businesses, workers and citizens;

Role of Parliament

23.    Looks forward to the launch of negotiations with the US, following them closely and to contributing to their successful outcome; reminds the Commission of its obligation to keep Parliament immediately and fully informed at all stages of the negotiations (before and after the negotiating rounds); is committed to address the legislative and regulatory issues that may arise in the context of the negotiations and the future agreement; reiterates its basic responsibility to represent the citizens of the EU and looks forward to facilitate inclusive and open discussions during the negotiating process; is committed to take a proactive role to collaborate with its US counterparts when introducing new regulation;

24.    Is committed to working closely with the Council, the Commission, the US Congress, the US Administration and the stakeholders to achieve the full economic, social and environmental potential of the transatlantic economic relationship and strengthen EU and US leadership in liberalization and regulation of trade and foreign investment; is committed to encourage a deeper bilateral EU-US cooperation to assert their leadership in international trade and investment;

25.    Recalls that Parliament will be asked to give its consent to the future TTIP agreement, as stipulated by the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and that therefore its positions should be taken in due account at all stages;

26.    Recalls that Parliament will endeavour to monitor the implementation of the future agreement;

o
o   o

27.    Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, and to the US Administration and Congress.


[4]Texts Adopted, P7_TA-PROV(2012)0388.

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