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EU-US trade talks look positive, and cosmetics is on the agenda

By Andrew McDougall+

25-Jun-2014
Last updated on 25-Jun-2014 at 12:08 GMT

The European Commission will host a sixth round of EU-US trade talks next month on a new trade and investment deal, known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP; and the outlook is positive as Europe is in a strong position.

The negotiations aim at removing trade barriers in a wide range of economic sectors so as to make it easier to buy and sell goods and services between the EU and the US.  The EU and US also want to make it easier for their companies to invest in each other's economy.

Speaking to CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com at the Cosmetics Europe General Assembly, Bertil Heerink, Director General, said that this is an important time for industry and that there will be a chapter on cosmetics included in the discussions.

“What will really make a difference is that the cosmetics industry from both the US and Europe have jointly developed their view on what could be done,” he explained.

“And this is very much in the area of mutual recognition of labelling, of risk assessment procedures, of ingredient lists.”

Impact assessment

As always before deciding to negotiate a trade agreement, the EU carried out an impact assessment of the potential effects of the agreement, looking at the potential economic impact, as well as possible social and environmental impacts. 

The overall outcome for the EU was positive; but what is clear is that the more liberalisation there is, the better the overall result.

However, due to the numerous standards and regulations in place in the EU and the US, it means that harmonisation is not on the agenda.

Heerink explains that this is because the systems are too different, but it should make life easier.

“What we hear from the negotiators is that we can be positive and optimistic that this will bring us some results. That certainly will facilitate trade and it certainly will be beneficial for further development,” he added.

European possibilities

Even in the current situation when the euro-zone is recovering from an economic crisis, trading with Europe offer huge possibilities for its US partners.

The EU is the largest economy in the world: its 500 million citizens have an average per capita income of €25,000.

That also means that the EU is the biggest market in the world, and is the largest importer of manufactured goods and services, with the largest stock of investments abroad and the world’s largest host of investments by foreign firms.

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