Policy brief

Prospects for regulatory convergence under TTIP

This Policy Contribution was prepared for the European Union Committee's inquiry into the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Regulatory h

Publishing date
04 November 2013

An ambitious, comprehensive and high-standard trade and investment agreement between the European Union and the United States is feasible, but a key concern is whether the transatlantic trade partners will succeed in creating a meaningful agreement within the tight timeline of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations. The target of a ratified pact before a new European Commission takes office in November 2014 is an objective that is likely to conflict with the level of ambition on the substance.

Regulatory congruence would require the unilateral and unconditional recognition by the TTIP partners of each other’s standards, procedures and conformity assessment tests. The way forward is to create a ‘living’ (or progressive commitment) agreement on regulatory cooperation with a horizontal template for coherence and conformity assessment and a detailed monitoring mechanism, with implementation starting immediately for a few selected sectors.

Regulatory harmonisation under TTIP may not lead to emerging markets automatically upgrading to the higher TTIP standards. Domestic priorities and the high demand from a rising price-sensitive group of consumers will likely result in a dual regulatory regime in emerging markets in the medium-term.

About the authors

  • Suparna Karmakar

    Suparna Karmakar is an Indian citizen and a Marie Curie fellow at Bruegel from 2 May 2013 to 1 August 2014.

    Her research interests include the multilateral trade negotiations versus regionalism, regulatory barriers and technical standards impeding multilateral and regional trade in goods and services, and market access (including trade facilitation) policy and negotiation issues arising therefrom. At Bruegel she will work on the future of trade multilateralism and the changing role of WTO as the premier multilateral trade negotiating forum.

    Suparna holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Jawaharlal Nehru University of New Delhi. In India Suparna has worked in renowned trade research institutes like the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) and the Centre for WTO Studies (CWS), IIFT, while her international engagements have been as visiting fellow with the Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS), National University of Singapore (2009) and the ADB Institute, Tokyo (2010). Suparna has also worked as a Consultant on various Government of India-commissioned projects on preferential and multilateral service trade liberalisation, non-tariff barriers and other regulatory restrictions for market access in manufactured goods and services.

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