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Rule-making and Achieving Global Standards through TTIP

Leif Johan Eliasson

Europeans and Americans go after Free Trade Agreements with the same countries and regions. Yet the economic benefits of a TTIP for both Europe and the US far exceed those resulting from a potential completion of the Doha round, and are five times the EU-South Korean deal. Simultaneously negotiating numerous similarly structured bi-lateral third-party FTAs provide indicators of respective side's outer parameters of acceptable tariff levels, NTB provisions, product standardization, mutual recognition, and regulatory flexibility. These areas are crucial because the resultant standards will be adhered to by other states desiring access to the US and European markets, and both actors agree to allow third parties to join an approved TTIP. While the use of Most Favored Nation (MFN) clauses, 'rules of origin' to regulate products and expand competition , and the offer of expanded membership offer means of moderating negative economic externalities from a TTIP (and studies on multilateral regional agreements show minimum diversion between mature economies, as well as increased intra-industry trade, and more trade with third countries), as countries join and/or adopt TTIP requirements, pressure on regulators in the third largest market, China, to adopt similar regulations and standards increases. An important yet unofficial political goal of setting global standards is thus achieved through a positive externality. This paper looks at how a TTIP can achieve aforementioned global standards by examining the structural, institutional, and political problems to be overcome.

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