Malmström in Washington: “We need highly ambitious trade agreements”


In a speech at the Atlantic Council in Washington D.C. Wednesday 29th June, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström stressed that the rationale for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) remains strong, and that negotiations are moving forward with the ambition to conclude during the current US presidential administration.  The recent UK vote on EU Membership has not affected the underpinning reasons for why trade across the Atlantic should be made easier.“Global trade and investment has never been more important for our economies. (…) We need highly ambitious trade agreements that effectively create economic opportunity,” Malmström said.

In her speech, Malmström also pointed out that a TTIP agreement must contain several elements in order to be successful. As examples, Malmström mentioned trade in services – to address long-standing existing barriers in this field – as well as common principles for good regulatory practices, promote ambitious provisions on sustainable development, solutions to safeguard geographical indications, and a way forward on investment protection. As regards European access to public procurement, Malmström said:

“We know procurement is a sensitive issue in the US. And we are ready to explore an ambitious outcome that takes these sensitivities into account. But it’s essential that the US fully understands that in Europe it’s the current imbalance that’s the highly sensitive issue. A substantial improvement is needed on market access opportunities at all levels of government.  What the EU is looking for – on procurement, services, regulatory cooperation, geographical indications and investment – is doable, as long as the political will is there.”

After her speech, Commission Malmström participated in a seminar discussion with Laura Lane, President of Global Public Affairs at UPS, and Richard Trumka, President of labour union federation AFL-CIO.  Watch the entire event.

The speech and discussion at Atlantic Council followed several meetings with American representatives in the US capital.  On Tuesday, Commissioner Malmström met with US Trade Representative Michael Froman to discuss the upcoming round of TTIP negotiations, starting on July 11th, as well as several of the elements in the talks. Naturally, parts of the discussion also revolved around the outcome of the recent British referendum.  In the days before their meeting, both Malmström and Froman stated that the reasons for concluding TTIP remain strong.

While in Washington D.C., Commissioner Malmström also met with US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to discuss both TTIP, the upcoming G20 Trade Ministerial, and the effects of the Brexit vote.  She also met Tom Donohue, CEO of the US Chamber of Commerce.


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