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United States | Washington, D.C., December 8, 2014

Transcript of Press Point with U.S. Trade Representative Froman and EU Commissioner for Trade Malmström

Transcript of Press Point with U.S. Trade Representative Froman and EU Commissioner for Trade Malmström

Ambassador Froman: “We just finished a very good set of discussions where we reviewed the state of the negotiations to date. We reaffirmed our commitment to an ambitious, comprehensive, high standard TTIP. We talked about next steps in terms of equipping our teams with the tools they need to move forward on the outstanding issues. We expect that the meetings over the course of January among various parts of our team, as they prepare for a round in early February, the next formal negotiating round. And the two of us, very much are committed to staying actively involved through regular stock-taking exercises throughout the negotiations.”

Commissioner Malmström: “Well I am obviously very happy to be here today. It’s the first real meeting between us, Mike, and his team on an agreement that we consider on the European side, and I know that is shared, as being a potentially very, very important agreement. Not only because what it can bring when it comes to jobs and growth, on both sides of the Atlantic, but also the possibilities for us to set global standards and to renew and to reconfirm our strong partnership across the Atlantic as well.

“This was a very good meeting, we went through everything, we exchanged new ideas, informally, but very useful to take stock of where we are, possible ways forward, and so on. And I would personally be very engaged with Mike to follow this, to give it the political push necessary to do, as was recommended by our leaders in Brisbane. This is a priority for both President Obama and European leaders, and we do this between us, but also underlining the importance of trying to engage with the stakeholders outside as well to try to explain and demystify some elements of this potentially very, very important agreement.”

QUESTION: “Did you discuss ISDS, and can you say what date you’re going to unveil the results of the consultation?”

Cecilia Malmström: “We did discuss it, of course, I updated our American friends on where we are on the consultation. We have not set a formal confirmation date but it should be very, very shortly. We are finalizing the internal things, it will probably be just after Christmas.”

QUESTION: “After Christmas?”

Cecilia Malmström: “Yes, because we don’t have the time to review it, and also to release it just before Christmas when the Parliament is on recess, isn’t really the polite thing to do.

QUESTION: “And so, we can’t say until then, if ISDS will be included in the mandate?

Cecilia Malmström: “No, that is only a summary of the public consultation and that will not determine this. This is our process of moving forward. After that, I will bring those discussions to the Member States, to the European Parliament and so on. And this is the process of dialogue that we’ve continued during this week.”

QUESTION: “Well, at the February round, do you all expect to table new offers at that time in market access, single tariffs, or services? And more generally, when you talk about a “fresh start”, is that just a metaphor? Or does that mean somehow reconfiguring the negotiations in a way that produces more results?”

Michael Froman: “I don’t think it’s reconfiguring negotiations, I think it’s an opportunity with this new Commission in place. I had the pleasure of meeting Cecilia in Brussels as well as some of her new Commission colleagues a couple weeks ago and this gives us an opportunity, collectively on both sides of the table, to look anew at the outstanding issues and to figure out how best to, how best to take them forward.

“I think in terms of the February round, we took a long-term view of the negotiations that really over the course of the next several months, how to progress on the outstanding issues and we’re going to determine at each step what we think the most constructive way would be to deal with the outstanding issues.”

QUESTION: “Hello Ambassador, Hello Commissioner, nice to see you. I did want to follow up a little bit on Doug’s comment about the ‘fresh start’ because you talked at the INTA hearing, or Doug’s question rather, about the ‘fresh start.’ You mentioned in the INTA hearing that you believe you also need that fresh start in terms of substance as well, when you laid out what you saw, it sounded very familiar in terms of the EU priorities. The Ambassador said it’s not about reconfiguring the talks, but what are you going to do in terms of substance and the fresh start to make these negotiations move forward more expediently? And, to the Ambassador on market access, Doug also said a little more precisely, the EU previously said the U.S. market access offer on goods was not a basis for negotiations, they wanted you to submit a second offer before you really got down to business. Are you prepared to do that at this point? Thank you.”

EU Trade Commissioner Malmström: “Well the ‘fresh start,’ there are three parts of it. First of all, I understand there was a really fresh start on the lunch we were offered. First we had sandwiches, now we had a full meal. I don’t know if the cookies were home baked by Ambassador Froman but they were really good, so that’s the first, important fresh start.

“Secondly, it was very much about process in the European Union, how we deal with this, both internally in the Commission, where we are now, I’m boring you with all the details of how we work, but we are working in a more inclusive way, both in the economic group of Commissioners because trade is obviously an economic issue, but also on foreign policy issues, because trade is increasingly a foreign policy tool, so we are working in different ways to engage the whole Commission on a more regular basis.

“And third of course, my predecessor and Mike have done a lot, the last year and a little bit more, to put everything on the table, but now is when the real negotiations start, and that’s where we felt the urge to take a political stock on where we are, so that we could you know, give to do lists to our team and to agree on how to move forward on the political. So all this is absolutely a fresh start. I feel very comfortable today about the very strong commitment from our American friends to find solutions. They are difficult issues of course, but that we will work together to find a good deal that is good for Americans and Europeans.”

Ambassador Froman: “I would just say, we looked at all of the issues across the board, whether it’s goods, services, regulatory issues, really across all of the issues, to try and figure out how best to make progress on all fronts towards what is our collective, ultimate goal, which is an ambitious, comprehensive, high standard outcome. What matters is where we end up at the end of the day: that it’s something that is good for both of our peoples; that it helps drive jobs and growth in international competitiveness in both of our markets; that it shows how we can work together to develop strong regulatory and standards coherence without lowering the level of health, safety, and environmental protection our people have come to expect; that shows that government can regulate in the public interest, and that we’re not going to do anything that prevents them from being able to regulate in the public interest or to provide services, public services, that are important to the government function. Those are all areas that we want to ultimately be able to achieve, and what we were able to do today, I think, is very helpfully talk through the issues, as Cecilia said, many of them are very difficult, they’re challenging issues to negotiate, but to talk through in a very constructive way how to make progress across the board with that objective in mind.”