No endgame in sight on TTIP negotiations
Published 20/07/2016 | 02:30
EU and US negotiators gathered in Brussels last week for a 14th round of talks on a transatlantic trade and investment partnership (TTIP).
The aim is to finish talks by the end of the year, but given the lingering impasse over access to public procurement and agri-food markets, protections for workers and the environment, and the trade in services, it seems highly unlikely.
The UK's decision to leave the EU has also thrown a spanner in the works.
"Obviously a withdrawal of the UK from the EU market would affect the value of the EU market," said US ambassador Dan Mullaney after the talks.
"Imagine if the United States, for instance, said: 'Well, maybe TTIP will not apply to California'. There is a certain reflection that the parties need to have on those kinds of developments."
The US side is eager to get the negotiations finished before presidential elections in November, and is pushing the EU to put its most powerful bargaining chip on the table: agricultural tariffs, which make up 3pc of the tariffs both sides are seeking to eliminate.
EU negotiators are not budging, indicating talks have not yet reached their end game, said Liam McHale, director of the IFA's Brussels office.
"If you want a deal done by the end of the year, as the US side have said, you need to be negotiating on the 3pc right now, and that's not happening," Mr McHale said. "So you have got to believe there's still a distance to go before that can actually happen."