As mentioned in a press release from the European Commission, the focus of the upcoming second round of negotiations for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is for the European Union (EU) and the US negotiators to make progress on regulatory issues and standards.

After his meeting with U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman on 30 September, EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht emphasised that this is what will make TTIP different from traditional trade agreements: “Our main ambition - beyond simply reducing tariffs across the board - is to make the EU and the US regulatory systems more compatible and to help shape global rules in trade”, he said in a previous statement.

The TTIP will be built on a mutual recognition on the basis of the current standards – taking into consideration Europe’s leadership and standards which have risen to a level of global excellence – creating an agreement which “raises the bar.”

Karel De Gucht states that “in many ways, Europe has 'been there, seen that and done that' in its early preparations during the 1980s for a Single Market.” Even if neither side had the ambition to go that far in TTIP, “our aim should still be to progressively build a more integrated transatlantic marketplace”.

Commissioner De Gucht expects the negotiators to provide an outline of the regulatory and rules component of TTIP for political review in January 2014. “On that basis, the political guidance can be given to try to make a maximum of progress throughout next year."   This timeline may be adjusted, however.  On Friday, 4 October, it was announced that USTR staff will NOT attend the Transatlantic-Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations scheduled this week in Brussels, due to the US government shutdown.

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