If successfully concluded, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) would be the most ambitious free trade agreement in history, with the potential to benefit millions of consumers in the European Union and the United States. TTIP is not only an economic project but also a political project to promote transatlantic ties.
TTIP stands out because of its sheer scale – the European Union and the United States represent about 45 percent of global output. But it also stands out because it is a serious attempt to tackle duplicate regulation and non-tariff barriers such as “buy national” policies and technical barriers to trade. In the past, trade agreements were mainly about cutting tariffs, and that was relatively easy.
The road to ratification and implementation of TTIP will be long because of opposition both in Europe and in the US. Some key controversies stand out: safety regulation, fair and open access to government procurement and the settlement of disputes between companies and governments (Investor-State Dispute Settlement). Many of these have become controversial in public debate.
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