The Hagstrom Report

Agriculture News As It Happens


EU spokesman: TTIP ‘alive and making headlines’

Daniel Rosario
Daniel Rosario

BRUSSELS — “TTIP is alive and making headlines in some member states,” Daniel Rosario, the European Commission spokesman for agriculture, rural development and trade, told a group of trade journalists at a recent discussion here.

At the November 5 briefing arranged by the British Embassy in Washington, Rosario responded to concerns about vigorous opposition to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership in Europe and that it has been sidelined in the United States compared with the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.

“In some countries it is not an issue, in others such as Germany and Austria, it is as hot as football,” Rosario said, referring to protests that the agreement will lead Europe to import American foods such as chickens washed in chlorine, beef treated with growth promoters and genetically modified organisms.

The Europeans have collectively referred to these items as “Frankenfood.”

“For us agriculture is not just any other commodity,” Rosario said. “For environmental reasons, for social reasons it deserves special attention,” he said.

The European Union will not reduce its food safety standards, he continued, but “there are a lot of barriers you can remove without touching our standards on food safety and protection.”

Of the opposition to TTIP, Rosario said, “I am not buying any conspiracy theories about it. It is normal to have this culture of participation.”

Of the concerns about timing, Rosario said European officials still expect to reach a TTIP deal with the Obama administration, but that “substance prevails over speed.”

The European Commission, he noted, has released its trade strategy and more details of the TTIP negotiations than in any previous negotiations, and he suggested a U.S. release of similar documents might reduce the opposition.

“Transparency is the sine qua non condition” of the TTIP negotiations, he said.