VCI sees regulatory gain from potential EU/US free trade agreement

17 June 2013 11:49  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Greater regulatory cooperation between the EU and the US as part of a free trade agreement (FTA) between the two trading blocs has the greatest potential for the chemical industry, the VCI said on Monday.

The German chemicals trade group welcomed the EU member states’ agreement late on Friday to give a negotiating mandate on an FTA to the European Commission but warned of the possible impact of the exclusion of audiovisual services, or film, TV and digital media services, from the negations from the start.

“With this exclusion, reds lines have been drawn which might unnecessarily strain the atmosphere and bring counter-demands,” said VCI director general Utz Tillman.

The EU Council agreed on Friday that the EU was ready to launch FTA negotiations with the US on the "transatlantic trade and investment partnership", or TTIP after a compromise was reached on audiovisual services.

France had opposed their inclusion warning of the potential cultural impact on the EU’s film, TV and developing online audiovisual industry of the large film and digital media sector in the US.

The European Commission said there had been no “carve out” on audiovisual services, but fears have been raised of possible tit-for-tat action from the US.

Although industrial tariff barriers between the EU and the US are low they are costly, the VCI said. The 2.25% average US chemical tariff cost EU exporters almost €700m (currently $933m) in 2010. US companies paid around €1bn in tariffs in the other direction, it added.

“An end of all tariffs and non-tariff trade barriers and an improved regulatory cooperation will vigorously drive forward the chemicals trade for the partners on both sides of the Atlantic,” Tillman said.

“From our viewpoint, an improved regulatory cooperation between these trade blocks has the greatest potential for the chemical industry.”

The free trade process should lead to “mutual recognition” of regulations and standards for protecting the environment, consumers and health, he said.

A closer transatlantic trade partnership could revitalise multi-lateral trade liberalisation within the World Trade Organization (WTO), the VCI suggested.

($1 = €0.75)


By: Nigel Davis
+44 20 8652 3214



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