A high level dialogue organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, together with the Swedish Trade Union Confederation and the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise will take place in Stockholm today. The city will host the chief negotiators for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement, Ignacio Garcia Bercero for the EU and Dan Mullaney for the US, together with EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and United States Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman. Malmström and Froman will further hold a bilateral meeting for “stock-taking of the progress in the TTIP negotiations”, the EU Commission spokesperson told viEUew. Newly appointed EU Affairs and Trade Minister, Anne Linde S), will also attend. Meetings between the US and EU chief negotiators and USTR Froman and EU Trade Commissioner Malmström have become increasingly frequent as a result of the political drive from both sides of the Atlantic to conclude the agreement under the Obama Administration. The meetings, including the outcome of the July negotiating round, will feed into a detailed stocktaking discussion to be held during an Informal Trade Council on 22-23 September under the Slovak EU Presidency in Bratislava. Michael Froman, who arrived in Stockholm on Monday, told SvD Näringsliv that “we have made good progress during the past six months and must ensure that it continues and is speeded up. Political will is required from both sides to disarm the myths out there – and clarify what TTIP is and not is”. Growing critique against the agreement is however a reality, both in the US and Europe, with the sentiment among ordinary people that they have paid too high a price for globalisation and are suspicious about yet another free trade agreement. “We are aware that trade is a sensitive subject. We produce more in the manufacturing industry than ever before, but the combination of wage stagnation and unequal income distribution have made people uncertain. Then trade has a tendency of becoming the target at which they aim their economical fears” Michael Froman, further told SvD. The resistance could not have come at a worse time. Negotiators on both side of the Atlantic are in a hurry because if concord is not reached before year-end there is a risk that the entire trade agreement evaporates given the US presidential election and upcoming elections in several heavyweight European countries.
Further information about the meeting is available in the government press release.