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Parliamentary questions
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16 March 2016
Answer given by Mr Hogan on behalf of the Commission
Question reference: P-001308/2016

The study by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), which specifically covers the agricultural sector, assumes different scenarios as regards the elimination of tariffs and non-tariff measures (NTMs). The study suggests that the US has more to gain on agricultural tariffs than the EU in TTIP, if the full elimination of tariffs and the removal of selected non-tariff measures are assumed. This stems from the fact that EU agricultural tariffs are in general significantly higher than those of the US.

However, these modelled scenarios differ from the negotiating reality both on tariffs and NTMs. The EU has consistently signalled that full tariff elimination will not be envisaged for our most sensitive products, and that market access may be granted for those products through negotiated tariff-rate quotas instead. In addition, the EU has taken a consistent position that regulatory requirements like the ban on growth promoters and hormones in the livestock sector, or the EU's approval process for GMOs, will not be a subject of negotiations in TTIP.

The USDA study does not nullify the validity of the CEPR(1) study which focused on all sectors of the economy. Both studies used computable general equilibrium (CGE) models, which showed positive results in terms of GDP growth for both economies. Any differences may stem from the underlying assumptions.

For the abovementioned reasons, the Commission intends to continue the TTIP negotiations to reap the benefits indicated by the studies, while duly taking into account the sensitivities within the EU agricultural sector.

(1)Centre for Economic Policy Research.

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