Letter to American Chamber of Commerce in Romania
Ref: National Consultation: Romanian economy and the TTIP
Dear Mrs Nemoianu,
As a Romanian MEP member of the International Trade Committee (INTA) of the European Parliament, I follow very closely all major trade negotiations being conducted by the EU. It goes without saying that among those, TTIP is the major priority of my mandate. I am also paying particular attention to CETA, for which I lead in my group (S&D) and I have contributed to launching this year negotiations on the modernisation of the EU’s old FTA with Mexico, for which I am full Rapporteur in INTA. North America is therefore the centre of gravity of my activity in the European Parliament.
Benefitting from an intimate knowledge of the European Commission and generally of the European political and institutional milieu, I have launched a national consultation campaign on TTIP, aiming at providing a solid voice to Romanian economic and social interests directly at the negotiation table. In order to achieve that, I will consult directly more than 900 large and medium sized companies operating in Romania. I will create in early June together with weekly Capital, the media partner of this campaign, on their website, a special feedback platform for SMEs. And I will engage with representatives of owners, trade unions and NGOs, supporters and opponents of TTIP alike.
The present letter is one of the first to be sent out, as AmCham Romania by virtue of its membership and outlook has a natural understanding of both the US and EU economies, obviously with a particular focus on Romania. Many of your members do engage in trans-Atlantic trade with goods and/or services, are part of trans-Atlantic value chains, use inputs produced elsewhere in the world and are generally fully integrated in an environment that can be significantly altered or shaped by TTIP.
The AmCham’s experience, which I hope to be able to collect as feedback in a thorough and rigorous manner, would be invaluable for the national consultation that I have launched. The deliverables of the process will be sectoral TTIP papers and a national TTIP document that I will submit to EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström, with whom I work very closely, and to the EU and even US negotiators. I will then follow stubbornly the fulfilment of as many as possible of the well-grounded suggestions that I will have garnered.
I would therefore be very grateful if you could share this letter with your membership, with a view to collecting their experiences and thoughts on the following issues:
- US standards that make European exports to the US impossible, difficult or very costly;
- Excessively burdensome, time consuming or costly certification, conformity assessment or inspection procedures;
- The obligation to acquire costly import licenses for certain imports into the US;
- Compulsory inspections carried out in Romania by US agencies or other authorities;
- Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures placing unreasonable burdens on European exports of agriculture, agro-food or beverage products;
- Rules restricting local distribution channels in the US;
- Excessive, non-transparent or unpredictable customs procedures leading to unreliability of deliveries;
- Labelling rules creating excessive barriers to trade;
- Prohibitive financial costs, for instance pertaining to product liability insurance;
- Differences in procedures or treatment among various US states;
- Difficulties in providing services to the US, also linked to direct provision by seconded employees;
- Any other difficulties, typical incidents or ideas to improve trade flows stemming from practical experience.
Conversely, for all the above areas, it would be very useful to hear the opinions of your members about hurdles when importing into the EU. Imports are vital for a competitive economy, well integrated into global value chains, and TTIP should lead to improvements of administrative practices on both sides of the Atlantic.
It would also be interesting to hear from AmCham members in which areas they believe mutual recognition of American and European standards would be appropriate, bearing in mind that some standards provide similar levels of protection, but with different sets of procedures, resulting in additional costs for companies. It would be equally interesting to learn whether any of your members has participated or tried to participate in public procurement in the US, and whether they have encountered any difficulties because of ‘Buy America/n’ provisions.
Any input as to products or services in which companies established in Romania could become more competitive by means of eliminating trade and/or non-trade barriers currently imposed by the US would allow me to insist with the European negotiators for the tearing down, as part of the trade-offs of the negotiation, of those very barriers that would bring an economic benefit to Romania. Similarly, identifying risk areas for increased competition from the US would help understand any adjustment cost the Romanian economy would have to undergo.
Your members’ written feedback would greatly facilitate the creation of the sectoral and then national documents of the campaign, and would provide additional weight with the European Commission. Such feedback can be sent to the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am also open to have meetings, ideally on a sectoral basis, either in Bucharest or in Brussels, to discuss in depth with you and your members. For agenda coordination, my colleague Adriana Filip is available at email address email@example.com or phone number +32 228 37705.
At the end of the consultation process, on 16 October 2015, I will organise in Bucharest a high level conference on TTIP and Romania, with the confirmed participation of Cecilia Malmström, the EU Commissioner for Trade, of the EU Chief Negotiator Ignacio Garcia Bercero and of the US Ambassador to the EU, H.E. Anthony Luzzatto Gardner. I take this opportunity to invite you to this major event, focused on delivering for Romania. I am sure many of your members will participate at the conference, as well.
In order to facilitate the consultation process, I would be grateful if you could distribute the present letter to all of your members.
Looking forward to fruitful cooperation with you, your team and all the members of AmCham Romania,
Sorin Moisa MEP
CC: Ms. Anca Harasim- Executive Director
American Chamber of Commerce in Romania
Mrs Daniela Nemoianu, President
Victoria Business Park, 69- 71, Şoseaua Bucureşti- Ploieşti
Strasbourg, 21 May 2015
Publicat de Sorin Moisă
Subiect: Engleza, TTIP