EU chief TTIP negotiator Ignacio Garcia Bercero stated on 17 July, after the 10th round of TTIP talks, that the EU is very close to formally submit its proposed version of the ISDS clauses. ISDS has been the most controversial issue of TTIP talks and has spurred public discontent. The EC froze talks on the matter and opened a year-ling public consultation. Now that it is finalized, and that the EP declared its support for a reformed ISDS, the talks can be unfrozen and can move on. The negotiators will almost certainly fail to finalize TTIP by the end of the year, but are now aiming for a general skeleton of the deal in a year´s time.
Apart from ISDS, another issue seems to have recently caused controversy, this time in the US. The EU has a robust system of protected food products names, the so-called geographical indicators (GIs). Among the best known is the Greek feta. In the EU, only cheeses produced in specific regions of Greece can bear this name. The Union has secured the respect of its GIs also in its free trade agreements with South Korea, or with Canada (in Canada, a compromise has been found – products already produced in Canada today and called feta can be sold in Canada, but new Canada-originating feta-like cheeses will have to use a different name). Large American food producers, such as Kraft Foods, are fighting against this EU policy which they deem unfair and protectionist. They say they support true geographical indicators, such as “Camembert de Normandie” with a region´s name in them, but oppose protection of generic names such as feta, cheddar or gouda. They point out that it could lead to great losses if they were to change their product names as a result of TTIP. According to them, the EU-South Korea FTA has already affected them negatively in the South Korean market.
2nd May 2018