Taleen Ananian

Tempered Optimism Greets Launch of TTIP Negotiations

Atlantic Council – Bertelsmann Foundation survey finds most stakeholders believe that a significant transatlantic trade deal will be in place by the end of 2016.

WASHINGTON – A survey of 120 stakeholders on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) released today reveals that 88 percent believe the United States and the European Union (EU) will come to an agreement on expanding their economic ties. But their overwhelming optimism is qualified. Only 37 percent of those surveyed foresee a “broad” agreement; a slight majority of 55 percent forecast a less comprehensive “moderate” pact.

The results are included in a report being released tomorrow at the 5th Annual Bertelsmann Foundation-Financial Times conference.

Significant optimism also exists on the timetable for TTIP’s eventual passage. A clear majority (58 percent) predicts an accord will take effect by the end of 2016 while President Obama is still in office. Such an ambitious timetable takes into account the necessary ratification by legislators on both sides of the Atlantic.

Download the report here.

Additionally, the survey solicited expert opinions on seventeen potential policy areas that TTIP negotiators will consider. Respondents were asked to rate each area in terms of its importance in an accord and the degree of difficulty of finding common ground.

  • Convergence in the transatlantic regulatory policy-making process was deemed the most important aspect up for consideration, followed by regulatory convergence in manufacturing goods, sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures, the reduction or elimination of transatlantic tariff barriers, and mutual recognition or convergence of financial-services regulations.
  • Market access for genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and hormone-treated agricultural products was deemed the most difficult issue for a deal, followed by convergence in the regulatory approach, data protection and privacy, and market access to government procurement markets.

The survey, conducted by the Atlantic Council and the Bertelsmann Foundation, included trade-policy experts and others familiar with issues relevant to the TTIP negotiations in the government and business sectors, academia, and the media. Respondents hailed from the United States and Europe, with significant representation from those based in Washington, Brussels, and Germany. The survey was conducted between March 7 and April 1, 2013.