How we'll make TTIP happen
There are 3 main stages in negotiating a trade deal - mandate, negotiation, decision.
With TTIP, we're now at the second stage - negotiation - which we want to do as openly and accountably as possible
The 3 main stages in the negotiating process:
The 3 main stages in the negotiating process are mandate, negotiation, then decision.
Mandate – EU governments ask the Commission to negotiate
The European Commission is the EU's civil service.
Our tasks include negotiating trade agreements for all 28 EU countries.
In this case, governments gave us guidelines - our mandate - to start negotiating TTIP in June 2013.
Negotiation – the Commission negotiates, consulting widely
Negotiating trade deals takes time - sometimes several years.
For the EU's TTIP team it involves:
- meetings with the US Trade Representative's negotiators
- swapping written proposals
- drafting a final text - likely to run to hundreds of pages.
As we do so, we consult as widely as possible at every stage.
Once negotiations are concluded, the texts will be published online - like we did recently, for example, for a separate agreement with Canada.
Decision - EU governments and MEPs decide
After the text is legally revised and translated, we'll give it to:
And then a final decision comes with a double democratic guarantee.
EU governments and MEPs will decide between them whether to back it - not the Commission.
State of play of the negotiations
Talks started in June 2013.
Progress so far
Since the talks started, our work has included:
- holding 10 negotiating rounds with our US counterparts to clarify goals and exchange proposals
- consultations and events for stakeholders and the public – both in between and during negotiating rounds.
Read the latest TTIP update – a document we publish after each round of week-long negotiations.
You can also find out about meetings that take place between each negotiating round:
- meetings we convene with groups or individuals with a direct stake in the talks
- meetings which groups or individuals ask for, and we arrange:
- meetings with the EU’s Trade Commissioner
- meetings with members of the EU Trade Commissioner’s private office (‘cabinet’)
- meetings with the Director-General for Trade – the official in charge of the Commission department negotiating TTIP (known as DG Trade).
We still have a way to go in the talks, but of course we aim to make as much progress as possible in 2016.
The best deal through transparency
Getting TTIP right means listening to and involving everyone with a stake. And it means being as open as possible about what we're negotiating.
That's why EU Trade Chief Cecilia Malmström launched a new TTIP transparency initiative in November 2014, a month after starting in her new role.
"We must be more open to genuine two-way discussion. And we must be more transparent about the negotiations themselves.
For me, this is only natural.
As a Swede, I have transparency in my genes."
EU Trade Commissioner
Negotiations require trust. And that in turn requires some confidentiality. So certain texts we only show to governments and MEPs.
But we've published the rest, including:
- The EU negotiating texts which we’ve already tabled with US negotiators
- an independent study we commissioned to identify TTIP’s likely impact
- factsheets on every chapter in TTIP, in plain English.
Governments and MEPs
EU governments are central to the talks. We consult them at every stage – as EU law requires.
So are Members of the the European Parliament (MEPs), whom we regularly update.
We often meet national ministers, officials and parliamentarians, too.
We have sent them the following documents for information.
We've set up an independent TTIP Advisory Group - 16 experts to advise us, drawn from:
- business and trade unions
- consumer bodies
- environmental and public health groups.
Stakeholders and the public
Before the talks started, we:
- funded an independent report on TTIP's impact on the economy
- assessed TTIP's potential impact on:
- the economy
- social conditions such as jobs and wages, and
- the environment
We've also commissioned a more in-depth, independent study, known as a Sustainability Impact Assessment or SIA. This is still underway, so if you want to contribute, simply visit the SIA website.
And we've held 4 public consultations