08 May 2015

The Services Dimension of TTIP

Patrick Messerlin

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This CEPS Special Report examines the main facets of the debate about TTIP and services. First, it looks at the political and economic context and the various alternatives in terms of political support, stressing that only a partnership that ensures substantial economic gains will attract the support of the top policy-makers. Second, the paper makes the point that large economic gains in services require deep discussions on regulatory issues, and third, such discussions cannot rely on the negotiating techniques normally used for goods. There is thus a need to adopt a new approach, based on the mutual recognition and equivalence of regulations enforced in the services concerned, preceded by a mutual evaluation to grant such equivalence – all measures to be carried out by the regulatory bodies concerned, not by trade negotiators. This new game is a complex one but it has huge side benefits: it induces each TTIP partner to review the quality of their own regulations; it is at ease with the notion of a ‘living’ (evolving) agreement; and it can easily be open to third countries. All these benefits should reassure a general public that is fearful of a hastily baked deal. 

Patrick Messerlin is Emeritus Professor, Sciences Po, Paris.