Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B7-0195/2013

Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 22/05/2013 - 17
CRE 22/05/2013 - 17

Votes :

PV 23/05/2013 - 13.11

Texts adopted :

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to wind up the debate on the statements by the Council and the Commission

pursuant to Rule 110(2) of the Rules of Procedure

on EU trade and investment negotiations with the United States of America (2013/2558(RSP))

Yannick Jadot, Franziska Keller, Bart Staes on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group

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 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’(4),

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

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

C. whereas the Impact Assessment Report prepared by the Commission on the basis of a report by the Centre for Economic Policy Research, projecting significant overall economic gains by the year 2027 for both the EU (EUR 119.2 billion a year) and the US (EUR 94.9 billion a year), is based on questionable assumptions as regards the number and value of actionable non-tariff barriers (NTBs) and the magnitude of global spillover effects;

D. whereas the EU and the US share common values, comparable legal systems and high standards of labour and environmental protection, the consideration of which would lend more support to the TTIP project than questionable econometrics of the computable general equilibrium model;

E.  whereas both the EU and the US must design new avenues leading towards long-lasting and sustainable economic recovery;

F.  whereas, following the EU-US Summit held in November 2011, the HLWG was tasked to identify options for increasing trade and investment in order to support mutually beneficial job creation, economic growth and competitiveness; whereas the HLWG’s Final Report reached the conclusion that a comprehensive trade and investment agreement would provide the most significant benefit to both economies;

G. whereas Parliament, in its resolution of 23 October 2012(5), reiterates the need for ‘taking into historical account transatlantic divergence on issues such as the planting of genetically modified organisms and certain questions regarding animal welfare’ (paragraph 10); emphasises ‘that an alignment of EU and US regulatory standards should aim at reaching the highest common standard and, thereby, also improve the product safety for consumers’ (paragraph 11); ‘takes the view that given the increasing importance of e‑commerce, data protection standards play an essential role in protecting customers both in the EU and US’ (paragraph 16); and ‘underlines that the EU and the US maintain highly different definitions of public services and services of general economic interest, and recommends precise definitions of these terms’ (paragraph 19);

H. whereas strengthening the multilateral system remains a crucial objective which a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), by reason of its sheer weight in terms of international trade, would influence strongly but must not be allowed to call into question;

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

1.  Remains entirely unconvinced as regards the urgency of starting negotiations on a TTIP at the present moment; considers that the expectations concerning economic gains for the EU through a TTIP as projected by the Commission on the basis of the Impact Assessment are unrealistic; is therefore of the opinion that the TTIP cannot be regarded as a building block to exit the present economic crisis in the Union; believes that a strengthening of the work of the Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC) would be more likely than a TTIP to result in closer transatlantic cooperation in the setting of standards, especially for the market introduction of future technologies;

The strategic, political and economic context

2.  Is convinced that any further integration of the global economy must be oriented towards a profound ecological conversion of our economic behaviour and the long-term sustainability of our economies; believes that the strategic importance of the EU-US economic relationship should be reaffirmed and deepened in this perspective, by designing common ways of approaching the social and environmental challenges to global trade, investment and trade-related issues, such as standards, norms and regulations;

3.  Is aware that the development of deeper transatlantic integration and new common approaches to global trade will have profound repercussions upon other economies and the functioning of the multilateral trading system as embodied in the WTO; considers, therefore, that new transatlantic approaches to global trade must be rooted in the spirit of the existing global conventions that set social, ecological and human rights goals and must deliver a convincing example of their faithful implementation;

4.  Recognises the challenges of deeper transatlantic integration for the EU economy, given the highly competitive character of the US and EU economic structures, as aggravated by the ongoing economic crisis, the state of the financial markets and financing conditions, the high level of public debt, high unemployment rates and modest growth projections; stresses, therefore, the need for an ambitious common European industrial policy to inform the Union’s position on industrial tariff elimination, raw materials and energy policy, competition and IP policy, localisation and performance requirements, the role of public procurement in the switch to a green economy, and regulatory cooperation on future technologies;

5.  Believes that the character of the envisioned TTIP goes far beyond the EU’s existing bilateral trade agreements, and therefore requires the highest level of transparency and the active involvement of all stakeholders at every stage of the negotiations; calls, therefore, for the establishment of a stakeholders’ advisory body, to be continuously and fully informed about the ongoing negotiations by the Commission;

The HLWG Final Report

6.  Is disappointed that the recommendation of the HLWG Report to launch negotiations for a comprehensive trade and investment agreement, which informs the draft of the negotiating mandate of the Council to the Commission and the notification of the US Trade Representative to Congress, falls short in terms of any consideration beyond strict bilateral economic growth parameters which, moreover, are questionable in the light of the ongoing economic and financial crises on both sides of the Atlantic;

7.  Warns that the emphases 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 NTBs and enhancing the compatibility of regulatory regimes, and (iii) developing common rules to address shared global trade challenges and opportunities will only unfold their potential if based on a common set of values geared towards transatlantic leadership in the global ecological conversion of economic activities; warns that in the absence of a common ecological base, a TTIP would essentially increase competitive pressures, create more unemployment, and widen the global rifts between competing regional economic blocs, thus contributing to the dysfunctionality of the multilateral trade system;

8.  Argues that, given the already existing low average tariffs, a key to unlocking the potential of the transatlantic relationship could lie in the tackling of NTBs, which consist mainly of customs procedures and behind-the-border regulatory restrictions, as long as this approach is not misused to undercut value-based regulatory restrictions; stresses that many of the regulatory restrictions are rooted in transatlantic divergences over health, safety and environmental standards and the role of the state; regards as key to unlocking the potential of the transatlantic relationship a common ambitious vision of the future social and environmental needs of the global economic system;

9.  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 otherwise meeting legitimate regulatory objectives; stresses that each side must retain the freedom to introduce higher levels of social, health, safety and environmental protection in consultation with the partner, in the interests of higher common standards;

10. Considers that the level of ambition in the HLWG’s final report in terms of labour rights and health protection is too modest; also criticises the limited level of ambition regarding harmonised standardisation for newly emerging technologies;

Negotiating mandate

11. Calls on the Council to make the opening of negotiations conditional on an agreement with the US on transparency, to include the timely publication of draft texts at all stages of the negotiations, in accordance with the standards previously implemented in NAFTA negotiations and by the WTO; recalls that the TTIP emphasis on regulatory cooperation requires the involvement of regulators, legislative bodies and stakeholders at an early stage of the proposals; stresses, therefore, the need for continuous, timely and proactive engagement with all stakeholders, on a basis of complete transparency of the proceedings;

12. Calls strongly on the Council to webstream its deliberations on the negotiating mandate to the Commission and to make the final negotiating mandate public, as a sign of a new spirit of transparency in trade negotiations;

13. Reiterates its support for a trade and investment agreement with the US oriented towards the long-term sustainability of our economies, which would support the creation of high‑quality jobs for European workers, benefit consumers and the environment, seal existing consumer, health, animal welfare and environmental standards at the highest common level, and open up new opportunities for EU companies;

14. Calls on the Council to propose a precise mandate, while indicating which issues could be negotiated in a different timeframe and outside the TTIP;

15. Calls on the Council to explicitly exclude from the negotiating mandate market access to public services or any regulatory cooperation threatening the horizontal exceptions for public utilities or directly or indirectly increasing pressure for liberalisation of the public‑service sector;

16. Calls on the Council also to explicitly exclude the liberalisation of audiovisual services from the negotiating mandate; stresses that regulatory cooperation in fields related to cultural and linguistic diversity must not prejudice the status quo in the Union in terms of the right to cultural and linguistic diversity;

17. Stresses that it expects the negotiating mandate to contain a firm assurance that the Union acquis regarding the protection of health, product safety, animal welfare and the environment is non-negotiable, as well as confirmation of the principles underlying the Union’s existing regulatory activity, such as the precautionary principle, the right to data protection, respect for collective preferences, the multifunctionality of agricultural activity, and subsidiarity;

18. Stresses that the protection of intellectual property rights (IPRs) is an area where there are deep transatlantic divergences and which requires agreement on exceptions to rights, limitations to remedies and proportionate enforcement, and should therefore be left for a later stage of negotiations;

19. Welcomes, in particular, the HLWG’s recommendation that the EU and the US address the environment and labour aspects of trade and sustainable development; calls on the European Council and the Commission to pursue the establishment of full enforceability of labour and environmental provisions; calls on the Council to include in its mandate negotiations on the environmental impact of Product and Processing Methods (PPM) and the principles of a common and potentially global carbon market;

20. Reaffirms its support for the dismantling of unnecessary regulatory barriers which are not based on legitimate safety, health, animal welfare and environmental concerns;

21. Calls on the Council to affirm positively in the negotiating mandate the freedom of both partners to adopt and enforce standards providing higher levels of health and environmental protection than those required by an agreement, including where there is scientific uncertainty, and to state that such measures cannot be challenged under the terms of the agreement;

22. Calls on the Council to affirm positively in the negotiating mandate the freedom of both partners to adopt robust regulations on financial institutions and financial transactions, and to state that such measures cannot be challenged under the terms of the agreement;

23. Considers that the well-functioning domestic court systems and robust property rights protection characterising both partners mean that special investor protection provisions are dispensable; calls on the Council not to grant greater rights to US investors than to domestic investors, and to exclude the option of Investor-to-State Dispute Settlement from the negotiating mandate;

24. Considers that the agreement should guarantee full respect for EU fundamental rights standards by the inclusion of a human rights clause; takes the view that the agreement should fully respect the EU’s data protection rules, including those on international transfers, and should contain an exemption as regards data protection referring to Article XIV of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS);

25. Calls on the Council to mandate the Commission to provide for impact assessments, including competitiveness checks, at all stages of the negotiations, which will duly analyse the impact of bilateral trade liberalisation on jobs and the environment and which are specific to different sectors, and to submit all proposals regarding the establishment of regulatory equivalence or mutual recognition to the competent legislative bodies at an early stage of their negotiation;

26. Cautions that quality should prevail over time, and trusts that the negotiators will not rush into a deal that is not based on proper risk assessment from the consumer and environmental perspective and that does not deliver tangible and substantive benefits to our environment, businesses, workers, consumers and citizens;

The role of Parliament

27. Commits to following negotiations with the US 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);

28. 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;

29. 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 its positions should therefore be taken duly into account at all stages;


o        o

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







Texts adopted, P7_TA(2012)0388.

Last updated: 17 May 2013Legal notice