The EPP Group stresses that the T-TIP must not and cannot overrule, repeal or amend EU laws and regulations. Any changes to EU laws have to be approved by the competent Institutions. The EPP Group considers that, for trade negotiations, a certain amount of confidentiality should be maintained, so as not to undermine the EU's own position in the negotiations. However, this confidentiality should be balanced by an accurate and appropriate flow of information to the other stakeholders and to the public, including the European Parliament and the Council.

1. Agriculture and Consumer Protection

The EPP Group believe that the EU should not negotiate on existing levels of protection for the sake of an agreement and therefore the high level of protection here in Europe is non-negotiable. The U.S. has the same concerns and is committed to high levels of protection. However the EPP Group supports the idea that improvements could and should be made to make EU  regulations more compatible, and that the EU should be willing to take a pragmatic view on whether things can be done better and in a more coordinated fashion.

The negotiations on agriculture are crucial to having a balanced final agreement and the EPP Group believes that opening up agriculture markets can be a two-way street with benefits for both the EU and the U.S. In particular, the agreement can create tremendous opportunities for agro-food products where some of them, such as apples and various cheeses, are banned from the U.S. market and others are subject to high U.S. tariffs - 30% on meat, 22% on drinks and up to 139% on dairy products.

Furthermore, no sheep meat can be exported to the U.S. due to strict U.S. requirements on infectious viral diseases, and about half of the U.S. states do not allow the sale of raw milk. Removing these and other barriers will help boost EU exports to the U.S.

2. GMOs

In the European Union’s current system, applications for approval are assessed by the European Food Safety Authority and then sent to Member States for their opinion. This risk-management assessment must not be affected by the negotiations. The EPP Group opposes any change in EU laws as a result of the agreement and considers  that the current legislation should continue to be applied.

The EPP Group considers that the negotiations should not be about compromising the health of consumers for commercial gain. Meat with hormones should continue to be banned in the EU market. Tough EU laws, like those relating to hormones, or those that exist to protect human life and health, animal health and welfare, environment or consumer interests will not form part of the negotiations; therefore meat with hormones should continue to be banned in the EU market. The Commission has confirmed such an approach and is not negotiating on this issue.

3. Culture and Audiovisual

Europe is not closed to American movies, but has rules to protect Europe's cultural diversity. The majority of the EPP Group has made it clear that the audio-visual sector has to be excluded from the scope of the negotiations. This sector is not part of the Council's mandate and is not negotiated.

4. Intellectual Property Rights, Data Protection and Investment Protection

The EPP Group considers that the position of the European Parliament, which voted against the Anti-Counterfeiting Agreement (ACTA), has to be fully respected and therefore there is no option of getting ACTA through the back door. On the other hand, IPRs (Intellectual Property Rights) will be part of the negotiations; both the EU and the U.S. already have efficient rules for protecting IPR, maybe with a different approach. The EPP Group recognizes that the T-TIP could make trade between the EU and the U.S. easier for a limited number of important IPR issues without weakening these rules.

With regard to data protection, the EPP Group believes that both parties should regulate data privacy in a different way and therefore the T-TIP is not the right place to address these differences. The EU is in talks with the U.S. on access to data by enforcement authorities with the aim of getting an Umbrella Agreement on data protection in order to combat terrorism and serious crime. These talks must not affect the T-TIP.

5. Investor to State Dispute Settlement

The Investor to State Dispute Settlement  is an issue which has been included in all the previous investment protection treaties negotiated by the Member States with third countries, including the United States. Therefore the EPP Group considers that it should continue to be part of the negotiations, since the possibility of appealing to an international body for arbitration would offer the foreign investor the best guarantee that their investments will be adequately protected.

Nevertheless the scope of the application of ISDS should be limited to a few precise cases, such as expropriation, and framed within a more transparent and improved procedure with better rules in terms of government control of and a code of conduct for arbitrators.

6. Public Services

Public services are excluded from the scope of these negotiations. There is therefore no risk of undermining the free choice of EU municipalities on whether or not to liberalise such services.

7. Regulatory Convergence

Harmonisation is not on the agenda of the talks and the EPP Group thinks it should stay that way. The T-TIP is not about trying to convince both parties to change their own system of regulation, but rather about finding ways to make the two systems work more smoothly.

Vehicles, pharmaceutical and medical devices are three areas where there is particular scope for regulatory convergence and the EPP Group considers that negotiators should make efforts to reduce such divergences, whenever and wherever it is possible.



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