The United States and the European Union announced last week the launch of negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.  The first round of TTIP negotiations will take place the week of July 8 in Washington, D.C.  While officials say they hope to conclude talks within 18-24 months, a fact sheet from EU notes that similarly comprehensive free trade agreements with South Korea and Singapore took four years to complete.

The TTIP, according to a joint statement, aims to:

  • Further opening EU markets, increasing the $458 billion in goods and private services the United States exported to the European Union in 2012;
  • strengthen rules-based investment, which totaled nearly $3.7 trillion in 2011;
  • eliminate all tariffs on trade;
  • tackle non-tariff barriers that impede the flow of goods, including agricultural products;
  • obtain improved market access on trade in services;
  • significantly reduce the cost of differences in regulations and standards by promoting greater compatibility, transparency, and cooperation while maintaining high levels of health, safety, and environmental protection;
  • develop rules, principles, and new modes of cooperation on issues of global concern, including intellectual property, state-owned enterprises, and localization barriers to trade, and
  • promote the global competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises.