United States Brussels, 11 July 2014
Commission publishes state of play of TTIP negotiations ahead of 6th round of talks
EU and US trade negotiators will begin a sixth round of week-long talks on Monday, 14 July. The European Commission is negotiating on behalf of the EU, and we are committed to being as transparent as possible in the way we do so. We have drafted a summary of the state of play of the negotiations, and progress achieved by the negotiators to date in all the areas of the negotiations.
Glossary of terms
This is an official document, so it contains certain technical and legal terms. To help you understand these, we have also prepared a 'guide through the legal texts':
- EU position paper – The first written text EU negotiators present (or 'table') to the US side.
The texts explain our aims and ambitions and guide us through the entire negotiation process. In fact, we published our position papers in most of the negotiating areas (in July 2013 and in May 2014). Our negotiators base their initial discussions on these papers.
- Textual proposal – negotiators then present a legal text – a textual proposal - to their counterparts.
Often our negotiators use templates from other agreements, such as ones reached at the World Trade Organisation or other bilateral trade agreements. This helps negotiators find a shared point of reference to past agreements.
- Initial offer – this sets out the extent to which we are willing to open our markets – in other words, to offer market access - in goods and/or services to our negotiating partner. Offers typically relate to tariffs, government procurement and services.
Usually, we attach this offer to our textual proposal.
- Consolidated text – this is another legal text which we base on our earlier textual proposals, and draft jointly with our negotiating partner. It generally involves putting each partner’s initial textual proposal together.
If we can’t agree on some issues, we put our proposed text alongside that of our partners, in brackets. Negotiators then focus on finding agreement on these 'bracketed' texts.
- Text-based discussion or phase
At this stage, negotiators on both sides discuss either their respective textual proposals, or a consolidated text.