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EU court rules on transparency of commission planning transatlantic trade agreement

[JURIST] The European Court of Justice (ECJ) [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Thursday that the European Commission [official website] is not being sufficiently transparent regarding negotiations with the US on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) [policy website]. The TTIP aims to remove trade barriers between the EU and US, and make it easier to buy and sell goods and services between them. The court concluded that documents related to international activity, including the TTIP, must still comply with Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 [text, PDF], which requires European Parliament, Council and Commission documents to be available upon public request. Negotiating documents are exempt from the transparency requirements. The Council must now give specific justification [EurActive report] as to why it should not be required to grant access to its documents.

When complete, TTIP will be among the most profitable trade agreements in history, with independent research [EU-TTIP fact sheet] indicating a net boost to the US economy by USD $122 billion, the EU's economy by USD $160 billion, and the rest of the global economy by USD $135 billion. Negotiations are set to begin this month. Objectives for the agreement [US-TTIP fact sheet] include the elimination of tariffs, duties and charges on trade in agricultural, industrial and consumer products between the United States and the EU, as well as greater cooperative development in trade regulations.

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