The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a proposed agreement to cut tariffs and regulatory barriers to trade between the US and EU. Talks have been going on for some time and the trade committee’s report on a package of recommendations was due to go to the European Parliament for voting on 10 June. However the European Parliament President decided that the Parliament could not vote on a package with 116 (reduced from 120) tabled amendments. So the report was referred back to the Committee on International Trade for further discussion.
There has been considerable opposition to the proposals on both sides of the Atlantic. In Europe a key concern is whether disputes between investors and Member States might be addressed by investor state dispute settlement (ISDS) tribunals.
Other key areas of concern to European opponents are: food standards (the US is perceived to have lower standards) and privacy (potential anti-counterfeiting measures might lead to greater surveillance of personal data).
American concerns include financial services – the US has introduced tough measures governing the banking sector which it does not want to see watered down.
In the EU, if the European Council and Parliament both agree the arrangement will have to be separately ratified by the national parliaments of all 28 Member States. The UK Government supports TTIP. In the US, the agreement must be approved by Congress, possibly under a simplified procedure to prevent special interest groups asking for multiple amendments. The Democrats are seen as less enthusiastic about free trade than the Republicans.