28 April 2014 | Briefing

Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) - Update 1, 04/2014

Howard Davies

This Update concerns TTIP as it stands at the beginning of April 2014. It covers the current context and the issues that may prove to be of relevance to EUA members and to the European higher education sector at large.

This Update follows a background paper published by EUA in January 2014. The two documents are best read in sequence.

EUA’s main points are:

- EUA’s primary concern is with eventual EU-US agreements in the area of services, which might impact on higher education. At this stage, it is not possible to say whether higher education services will feature in the deal.

- The bilateral TTIP negotiations now under way are not stand-alone. Ultimately, they must conform to the rules of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). They must also be consistent with EU law.

- TTIP is foreshadowed by more advanced negotiations in other arenas: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), in which the US has a major stake; and the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), for which political agreement has been reached, but the technical details not yet fleshed out.

- Also under way are preparations for a Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA), in which over 40 WTO countries are active, including both the EU and the US.

- Recent events in Ukraine have transformed the back-drop to the TTIP negotiations. The EU is urgently considering how to reduce its dependency on Russian supplies of oil and natural gas. The US is an obvious alternative source. However, its apparent leverage over the TTIP talks has to be seen in the context of the US government’s weakness at home. The outcomes of TTIP remain unpredictable.

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