Euroopan unionin ja Yhdysvaltojen väliset vapaakauppaneuvottelut jatkuvat
Sirpa Taskinen

Johanna Jacobsson, Visiting Researcher at The
Finnish Institute of International Affairs, commented the free trade agreement
negotiations between the European Union and The United States in a interview by
the Demokraatti –magazine on the 20th of December.

The Free
Trade Agreement negotiations between the European Union and the United States
MEP Jaakonsaari hopes for active hold by the

The third round of the free trade agreement
negotiations by the EU and the US are going by this week in Washington. The
agreement strives for standardizing regulations and lowering and deleting
custom fees and and formalities. If the agreement pulls off, it is expected to
increase growth and employment. The Research Institute of Finnish Economy,
ETLA, has estimated that when born, the free trade agreement would benefit
before all small and middle sized enterprises. Liisa Jaakonsaari, Member of the
European Parliament from the SDP emphasizes that growth and jobs are needed on
both sides of The Atlantic. She sees
that the eased access by the European enterprises to the US markets is
especially important.

There are many protectionist-like features in the US,
which discriminate against European enterprises. The agreement gives a chance
to delete them. The Finnish Government is right when promoting this agreement,
but it has to keep its eye on the ball, says Jaakonsaari.

The schedule is ambitious.

From the European Union Jaakonsaari hopes for a strong
and united line in the negotiations. In the best case the agreement could
further enhance obeying and executing essential international environment standards
and working life agreements.

This could even advance social responsibility, but it
depends on how the European Union negotiates. It can also happen the other way

The negotiations to create the biggest free trade zone
in the world began in summer. The goal is to complete the agreement by the end
of next year (2014). Jaakonsaari, however, does not believe the schedule to

The European Commission is leading the negotiations
from the EU’s side, and the member states prepare the positions in cooperation
with it. The EU member states and the European Parliament still have to accept
the agreement after the agreement has been accepted by both the Commission and
the US.

Novel questions on the table

the free trade agreement negotiations between the EU and the US have a lot at
stake. Johanna Jacobsson, a visiting
researcher at The Finnish Institute of International Affairs believes the
forming of the agreement likely. However, she speculates the quality of the

The quality and the depth of the
agreement define everything. When there’s so much of political capital at
stake, the temptation to praise even a bad agreement as a good one can be
great, she says.

What makes
the situation challenging is that the negotiations concern new kinds of trade
questions. Practically this means for example consumer goods standards and
security requirements as well as standardizing services of operational

does not deem possible that the agreement could directly weaken the position of
workers in the EU. However, with the growing competition, the impacts might
also reach the employees.

The same logic that fits everywhere
when liberating trade fits also here, she says.

The next
round is schedule already for next January. The negotiations have been criticized
about the lack of transparency, for what also non-governmental organizations
and private companies have been taken along.

I feel that’s a positive thing.
Nothing similar has been done before when dealing with free trade agreement
negotiations, Jacobsson says.