April 11, 2016 | By: HANS VON DER BURCHARD
CRITICAL TTIP TALKS KICK OFF IN LONDON: U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman landed in the British capital Sunday for two days of meetings on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström. The high-level engagement comes as the two sides prepare for the 13th round of TTIP talks, which will start April 25 in New York.
Apart from these preparatory meetings, there will be further working-group meetings after the round that reflect “the intensified engagement we’re having since the beginning of this year,” a Commission source told Morning Trade. The main focus of this round is expected to be regulatory cooperation and services.
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THE TALKS COME AS TTIP NEARS ‘LAST CHANCE:’ When President Barack Obama arrives in Germany on April 24 to open the Hannover Messe [http://bit.ly/1hg0ebF], European supporters of the trade deal expect him to come with more than nice words. Several EU and national parliamentarians told Morning Trade it’s “a last chance” to raise the political pressure for concluding this year. Otherwise the deal would risk getting ensnared in a limbo of presidential change in the U.S. and national elections in France and Germany that would push the deal to 2018 or beyond.
The European demand is clear: The U.S. must move, particularly on public procurement and the Commission’s proposal to reform investor-state arbitration, and it must do so fast. The 13th negotiation round in New York, which will start just one day after Obama’s visit, is now crucial, said Jürgen Hardt, Germany’s coordinator for transatlantic cooperation. “If we want to agree on all points by the end of the year, this round needs to bring substantial progress.”
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