My noble Friend the Minister of State for Trade and Investment (Lord Livingston) has today made the following statement.
The EU Informal Foreign Affairs Council (Trade) took place in Rome on 15 October 2014.
I represented the UK on all the issues discussed at the meeting. A summary of those discussions follows.
Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)
The presidency took stock of the recent negotiating rounds. Member states reiterated their commitment to securing a deal, recalling the geopolitical importance of the agreement and looking ahead to fresh impetus after the US mid-term elections. Member states agreed on the need to improve transparency and public engagement, in order to highlight the benefits of TTIP more effectively and respond to concerns. There was a discussion on several areas of the negotiations, including trade in services, geographical indications, energy and investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS).
The Council meeting was preceded by a dinner attended by EU Trade Ministers, EU Trade Commissioner De Gucht and the US Trade Representative, Michael Froman. The discussion reflected on progress so far, areas of difficulty in the negotiations and public concerns in the EU. Several member states intervened on specific issues, including transparency, the energy sector and services.
Commissioner De Gucht provided reassurance that only the EU and Ukraine could table files for amendment and stated that he could not see the European Parliament agreeing to any significant changes. Member states then engaged in a limited debate.
WTO Doha Development Agenda
The Commission reported that there had been no progress in Geneva towards securing Indian agreement to the trade facilitation agreement reached in Bali last year. Discussion ensued on potential ways forward.
AOB - State of play of legislative items Trade Defence Instruments and International Procurement Instruments
The presidency noted that there had been no agreement on these files within Council to date, and that there would be further discussion on them at a later date. There was no debate.