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Sturdy on US trade talks: Don’t let France take something off the table before we even started talks

Before tomorrow’s gathering of EU Foreign Affairs Ministers that is set to adopt a negotiating mandate on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the United States (TTIP), Robert Sturdy MEP, Vice-President of the European Parliament’s trade committee, said:

“If we start exempting entire sectors now then the USA will have every right to retaliate, and the talks could be scuppered before they even begin. It is completely counterproductive to exempt an entire industry from the trade talks at this early stage. Clearly red lines exist for both sides, but they should be dealt with in the negotiations.

“Ironically, the French audiovisual industry could benefit greatly from a trade agreement. It is a large sector and open trade would give it an opportunity to expand into America. It is a shame that France sees open trade as a threat to its culture, when it should be seen as an opportunity to spread it.

“Of course Member States should remain able to defend their quota and tax systems under national laws, but the Commission have already given the strongest possible assurances that this will be maintained. It makes no sense now to try and exclude the entire audiovisual services sector on account of a problem that doesn’t exist.

“President Hollande’s political weakness at home should not trip up this game-changer in global trade. This is not a French mandate for talks, it is an EU one.

“We have an opportunity to give both of our economies a major shot in the arm, and to redefine the global trading system for the 21st century. The benefits of this deal will override any short-term losses.”

The European Conservatives and Reformists Group trade spokesman added: “It is most important that we have the right mandate for these talks. If France is not willing to sign up to the commission’s latest proposal then we would be better to postpone adoption of a mandate. I would rather have a delay of a few weeks than have our negotiators walk into the room with a hand tied behind their backs by France.”

On the 4th June the ECR hosted a hearing on the TTIP with US Ambassador Kennard and EU Chief Negotiator Ignacio Garcia Bercero. It is still available to watch online here: http://eventstream.streamovations.be/eu-usa-trade-agreement-a-game-changer.php

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