In February, 2013, following a recommendation by a high level working group on growth and jobs from the EU, the EU and US agreed to initiate internal procedures for negotiations on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). On March 12, 2013, the European Commission requested permission from the Member States to open negotiations with the US for a TTIP and released an impact statement on the future of EU-US trade relations and a study on the potential effect of an EU-US TTIP.
According to the European Commission, the trade picture between the EU and US looks as follows:
Total US investment in the EU is three times higher than in all of Asia;
EU investments in the US are about eight times the amount of EU investment in both India and China;
EU and US investments are the real driver of the transatlantic relationship, contributing to growth and jobs on both sides of the Atlantic, and about one-third of the transatlantic trade consists of intra-company transfers;
The transatlantic relationship defines the shape of the global economy as a whole – the EU or the US is the largest trade and investment partner for all other countries globally; and
The EU and the US economies account for about one-half of the world’s entire GDP and nearly one-third of world trade flows.
Average tariffs are reasonably low (below three per cent), the key however to unlocking the potential of any TTIP is tackling non-tariff barriers arising from diverging regulatory systems, mainly consisting of customs procedures and behind border regulatory restrictions, and non-tariff measures such as aspects of security or consumer protection.