The second round of Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) took place in Brussels on November 11-15, a month later than scheduled due to a US government shutdown in October.
Negotiating teams from the US and the EU focussed on a number of key areas including investment, services, regulatory issues and energy and raw materials.
Regulators from both sides were involved in this round of talks, which were held in what was described by Commissioner Karel De Gucht as a “good atmosphere”.
A number of video conferences also took place alongside the talks covering a number of important issues such as plant health and hygiene measures, intellectual property rights, competition policy and small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
Further video-conferences on tariffs and sustainable development, including labour and environment, took place over the following weeks and a meeting to discuss financial services regulation was held in Brussels on November 27.
At the end of the second round talks, EU chief negotiator, Ignacio García Bercero, and his US counterpart, Dan Mullaney, met with over 350 EU and US stakeholders representing a diverse range of groups.
They included Ibec, the representative body for Irish businesses, Friends of the Earth Europe, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and The Walt Disney Company.
During the briefing for stakeholders both chief negotiators strongly emphasised that all discussions, in particular in the regulatory arena, will always be based on the fundamental principle that nothing will undermine US or EU protections that currently exist for consumer, environmental, health or safety protection.
Both sides also issued reassurances that continued engagement with stakeholders during the talks was of critical importance.
The European Commission is introducing measures to ensure stakeholders get a chance to air their views and concerns throughout the TIPP talks process.
A group of experts, who will have regular interaction with Mr Bercero, will be appointed to identify issues that need to be carefully considered or that would require dedicated sessions with EU negotiators.
Commissioner De Gucht expressed satisfaction with the second round talks.
"We are making good and steady progress across the broad range of issues we need to tackle to make our transatlantic business environment more efficient and effective whilst preserving the protections and rights already in place for consumers,” he said.
“Let's keep our eye on the prize; more jobs for people in Europe, more growth for the European economy.”
The next round of TTIP talks take place in Washington DC in the week of December 16 meaning that, despite the earlier postponement of the second round, negotiations remain on track.
After the December round, the two parties will take stock, identify areas of convergence and areas where political guidance might be needed.