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June 6, 2015

EU wants to complete talks on TTIP under Obama

EU Commissioner for Trade met with Prime Minister Sobotka in Prague

Prague, June 5 (ČTK) — The talks about the EU-U.S. Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) should be completed under U.S. President Barack Obama’s term of office, which ends in January 2017, EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström said at a press conference after a meeting with Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka in Prague.

Only a small part of the agreement has made it to the consolidated version, which is a version approved by both parties, so far, Malmström said.

The talks have been lasting for two years with main focus on technical issues, in which a great progress has been made. The talks will hopefully advance to another stage in which the consolidated text can be created in the autumn, Malmström said.

Sobotka said the agreement with the USA is an opportunity mainly for small and medium-sized firms from the Czech Republic, as it will open access to the US market to them.

“The disappearance of customs and administrative barriers will mean a removal of an obstacle which it is hardly surmountable for the smallest entrepreneurs today,” Sobotka said.

The Czech government has welcomed the increased transparency of the EU-U.S. talks and is ready to support the search for a consensus on the final version, Sobotka said.

“At the same time we want the talks to be held in such a way that they do not neglect social, environmental and cultural aspects that are connected with the TTIP agreement,” Sobotka said.

Deputy Industry and Trade Minister Vladimír Bärtl said earlier this week that the Czech Republic fully support a complete lifting of customs on industrial products with TTIP. The free trade agreement is expected to bring benefit mainly to domestic companies involved in car manufacturing, health care technology, the pharmaceutical industry and engineering, Baertl said.

The Czech Republic expects the US public procurement market to open not only on the federal level but also on the level of individual states.

In the part of TTIP concerning copyright the Czech Republic wants to push through geographical indication protection for “České pivo” (Czech Beer), “Českobudějovické pivo” (České Budějovice Beer) and “Žatecký chmel” (Zatec Hops).

European Commission (EC) and U.S. representative have been negotiating TTIP since last year. The agreement is to remove the remaining obstacles in trade between the EU and the US and create the biggest free trade zone in the world.

EU-U.S. trade accounts for almost one-third of the global trade at present.

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