On 15 July, Maurits Bruggink, as Secretary General of the Critical Raw Materials Alliance, was given the opportunity to make a substantial presentation to the TTIP Stakeholder meeting. The meeting was split up into 4 separate sessions, and the CRM presentation was among 17 presentations in the session on “Issues related to agriculture, small and medium enterprises, sustainable development, energy and raw materials”. On the EU side, Mr. Petros Sourmelis, Head of Unit Market Access, Industry, Energy and Raw Materials at DG Trade represented the European Commission, and for the US side Ms Jean Kemp, USTR Lead Negotiator for Energy and Raw Materials.
At the end of the presentation, both negotiators asked a question: for the EU, this was which trade barriers existed for CRMs, while the US negotiator wanted to understand what existing unfair trading practices there are. There was no indication given as to whether and when the negotiators would address the CRM issues during the trade talks.
Chief negotiators’ briefing
At the official TTIP stakeholder briefing on 15 July 2015, the chief negotiators of the EU and the US, Ignacio Garcia Bercero and Dan Mullaney, briefed interested industry and civil society organisations about the 10th round of the TTIP negotiations taking place in Brussels from 13 to 17 July 2015.
Dan Mullaney specifically referred to the presentation on critical raw materials given to negotiators by the CRM Alliance earlier in the day. He stated that trade in critical raw materials, as they are used in high tech industries, would be discussed by EU and US counterparts during the course of the week’s negotiations. This is of course a positive development, and shows that our efforts are bearing fruit.
On the subject of chemicals’ regulation, it was underlined by Bercero that there will be no compromise on REACH or its implementation and no limitation to the power to regulate as a result of TTIP negotiations. The two sides are however continuing to discuss ways to cooperate on chemicals regulation. This can be read as a reference to the non-paper on chemicals regulation, which outlines the EU’s proposals, inviting comments from and exchanges with US regulators, namely the Environmental Protection Agency, on the subject of various steps of the REACH regulation, such as the CoRAP substance evaluation, the Authorisation and Restriction procedures, and also on the CLP regulation.
The CRM Alliance is to prepare a detailed paper on trade issues, including the main trade flows, barriers and practices. This paper, which could include recommendations to become a position paper, will help negotiators for TTIP and other bilateral or multilateral trade talks to orientate their negotiations and make improvements for trading of CRMs.
CRM Alliance, Brussels