Despite constantly reaffirming their commitment to conclude TTIP by the end of this year, the EU for the first time officially admitted that the deadline might not be met. Following an informal meeting of trade ministers in Riga, the Latvian foreign minister Rinkevics, representing the Presidency of the Council, conceded that the deadline may be missed. He said that both parties want the deal as soon as possible, but it will not be fast-tracked only because of a self-imposed deadline. According to Commissioner Malmstroem, the EC will nevertheless try hard to have the deal concluded by the end of President Obama´s term, that is by January 2017. However, if the deal is not finalized this year, the ratification will likely be trapped in the pre-election processes in the US. Several issues remain difficult to negotiate, first and foremost the investor-state dispute settlement, ISDS. Mainly European NGOs protest against it, but some governments have also expressed their negative views. Now, minister Rinkevics said that although there is not total agreement among Member States, the views are coming closer and a compromise may be found. Also, he said that there is broad agreement, that the CETA deal with Canada (very similar to TTIP), awaiting ratification, will not be re-opened due to ISDS, which it includes.
2nd May 2018