Welcoming Remarks by U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman At Outset of Meetings with EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement
February 17, 2014
“Thank you everybody for coming, and welcome to Washington. We’re very pleased that you and your team are here and we have a great deal to talk about today and tomorrow. This is an important opportunity to take stock of where we are in our negotiations of the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.
“When we launched these negotiations we knew they would present great opportunities and also a few challenges. I think it’s fair to say after three rounds, we see both. Both great opportunities and a few challenges. This is a good opportunity for us to work through some of those initial issues and determine how best to move forward, to maintain the momentum and move towards a conclusion of these negotiations.
“Recently we exchanged initial tariff offers and we’ll be discussing ways to make sure that our manufacturers and our farmers and ranchers and service providers have opportunities to get expanded access to each other’s markets. We’ll about how to reduce costs associated with regulation and standards, while maintaining the level of health, safety, and environmental protection that our regulators deem appropriate. We’ll talk about how to cooperate on issues of global common concern, as two of the largest markets in the world, to work together to help set standards and raise the bar around the world.
“I expect that when we finish tomorrow, we’ll have a clearer sense of how we can meet the various challenges and how to work closely to bridge our differences. That will be good preparation for the next round of negotiations, which will be in Brussels, the week of March 10th. We want to make sure that the teams are well prepared to engage constructively at that time.
“As President Obama emphasized last week, a transatlantic agreement will increase exports, support jobs, and promote growth on both sides of the Atlantic. To succeed, the agreement must be ambitious and comprehensive, as we agreed to when we started the negotiations. So I very much look forward to this dialogue today and tomorrow, and to working with the team to ensure a successful process forward for these negotiations."