The objectives, drafted by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, include several bullet points on sanitary/phytosanitary standards (SPS) that weren’t in the objectives for negotiating NAFTA or a U.S.-Japan agreement.
For instance, the U.S.-EU objectives call for new and enforceable rules to eliminate “unjustified trade restrictions or unjustified commercial requirements” stemming from SPS rules that affect new technologies, including unjustified labeling.
Also new is a call for provisions for SPS transparency and public consultation that require the EU to publish regulatory drafts, allow stakeholders in other countries the chance to comment and require authorities to address significant issues raised by stakeholders and explain how the final measure achieves the stated objectives.
EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom repeatedly has said that agriculture would have to be left out of any trade agreement with the U.S., including during an event at the Atlantic Council in Washington on Thursday.
The objectives also break new ground by calling for establishment of an active SPS chapter committee to discuss bilateral and third-party SPS-specific trade concerns, regulatory cooperation and implementation of good regulatory practices.
The EU objectives also include additional language outlining a desire to obtain EU commitments that it won’t foreclose export opportunities to the U.S. with respect to third-country export markets, including by requiring third countries to withdraw or limit use of any relevant standard, guide or recommendation developed in accordance with decisions by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade Committee.
Like the Japan negotiating objectives, customs objectives for the U.S.-EU talks call for new disciplines on the timing of release, automation and use of guarantees and ensuring that, to the greatest extent possible, shipments are released immediately after determining compliance with applicable laws and regulations, among other things.