European Union (EU) Ambassador David O’Sullivan was the featured guest at a joint reception hosted by the British American Business Council of Greater Philadelphia, international chambers of commerce, the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce and The World Trade Center Delaware.
In his first official visit to the region, O’Sullivan offered an update on the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP), currently being negotiated between the U.S. and the EU, considered the world’s largest free trade agreement. Goals include easier market access for American and European companies, as well as regulatory cooperation and trade rules.
Citing the need for comprehensive policies to generate growth in open markets, O’Sullivan said a trade agreement between the U.S. and the EU could result in open markets for sectors like automobiles or pharmaceuticals and chemicals , where standards are generally the same but trade is prohibited.
“There are many areas where we could reduce costs without lowering standards,” said O’Sullivan. “We’re making very good progress.” He added that a trade deal could result in 30 percent of the world gross domestic product.
The ambassador conceded tariffs, services and regulations have been obstacles during the negotiations.
Gov. Jack Markell, who also attended the even, said Delaware must focus on investing in a skilled workforce at home and engaging the world through a robust exporting plan.
The EU and US will continue its 12th round of talks on TTIP next month in Brussels.
O’Sullivan said he is hopeful negotiations will be finished by the end of the Obama administration.
O’Sullivan previously served as Chief Operating Officer of the European Union’s External Action Service, director General for Trade and Secretary General of the European Commission.
The EU is represented in the U.S. by the Washington, DC Delegation of the European Union, which works with the embassies and consulates of the 28 EU member states.