Bogdan Aurescu la deschiderea conferinţei „TTIP: Romania`s Voice”

Bogdan Aurescu, ministrul afacerilor externe
Deschiderea conferinţei „TTIP: Romania`s Voice”
Bucureşti, JW Marriott Bucharest Grand Hotel

Dear Commissioner Malmström,
Distinguished Ambassador(s),
Ladies and gentlemen,
Dear Sorin,

Thank you for the invitation to speak at the opening ceremony of today’s conference, covering a topic of utmost importance for the future development of the transatlantic relations.

I would like to thank you, Sorin, once again, for making possible this event. I know how much you tried to organize this event, we have discussed about this event for quite some time. But I would like to thank all participants representing the negotiating parties – the European Commission and the US - as well as the various social and economic partners, for their contribution today. This responds to a genuine need of better communication on this very complex subject for the public debate.

TTIP entails without any doubt the largest and most ambitious trade negotiation process ongoing in the world today, which required so far long efforts. Once finalized, it will bring tangible benefits to both sides - the European Union and its Member States on one side and the United States on the other. This Agreement has the potential to project positive effects on the development of the EU – US relations in this globalized world.  

Romania supported this process from the very beginning. We certainly hope that we will be able to conclude an ambitious, balanced and mutually beneficial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

Beyond the economic and commercial aspects involved, our stance is naturally based on the special relation we have with the United States through our Strategic Partnership.

Such an agreement would consistently contribute not only to economic stabilization and development, both in US and EU, but would also give a much-needed boost to investments.

From this perspective, with Romania’s economy currently set on a solid growth path, we hope we can become one of the most attractive destinations for US foreign investments.  

We are aware that TTIP negotiations are complex and include also a number of sensitive issues. Romania, as other EU Member States, has specific interests in certain areas [among which standards for industrial products, automotive industry, supply of IT services, energy, chemicals and pharmaceutics, wine and other agri-food products, investment protection], and these interests should be fully answered during the negotiation process, which is led, for the EU, by the negotiators of the European Commission. They should be able - and I am very confident that they will - to find commonly acceptable solutions with the American negotiators in all fields.

After all, besides its huge economic impact, TTIP would send a very strong political message all over the world, confirming that the close political relations between Europe and US are completed by a consolidated legal framework acting in the best interest of companies on both Atlantic shores and of economic development in general.

We are also all fully aware of the pros and cons voices in Europe around this agreement and we think that this is inherent bearing in mind its scale and its multifaceted and deep implications, not only for the participating parties, but also for each of their relations with other partners in the world. Questioning the possible effects is legitimate, of course,  but not taking on board the chance to enable ourselves to face  efficiently the challenges of our globalized world would be at least questionable , not only today but also by tomorrow’s generations.

We should therefore speak about opportunities, while doing the best to solve the existing challenges. Let me mention some, in overall terms.

  • Firstly, it will further deepen our strategic transatlantic alliance.
  • Secondly, it should enable for more prosperity on both sides of the Atlantic.
  • Thirdly, it will complement our efforts to strengthen growth and jobs in a still difficult transatlantic economic context. We should take the opportunity to increase the Romanian exports on the US market.
  • Not least, it would strengthen our global trading system by placing the transatlantic trade in a proper framework. The conclusion of an ambitious TTIP would offer a global example to follow all over the globe in similar regional or bilateral negotiations. This is why we should all work together to see that the final agreement will guarantee the respect of the highest possible standards in all sectors covered by the negotiations.

We all know that these negotiations are not easy and that there are still a lot of issues pending and waiting for the right answers and solutions. As many voices have pointed out in the European debate so far, soon the political stage will be marked by electoral deadlines, in the US and in several EU Member states. Therefore, I think that the current “window of opportunity” in the negotiations should be fully used, with mutual openness and commitment. The agreement reached recently on the Trans Pacific Partnership is a development which has an impact also on the advancement of the EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. I strongly believe that together with our American partners we will find the political will and determination to reach the right agreement as soon as possible.

It becomes increasingly clear that in today’s world TTIP is about more than trade. It is about creating a more strategic, a more dynamic, holistic US-EU relationship that is more confident, more effective at engaging third countries and addressing regional and global challenges, a relation that is better able to shape the ground rules of the international scene.

The Agreement is important in terms of how the transatlantic partners together might best relate towards rising powers. The stronger the bonds among core democratic market economies, the better their chances of being able to engage rising partners as responsible stakeholders in the international system.

Ladies and gentlemen,

As I already mentioned, TTIP has the potential to be a crucial investment vehicle, creating new jobs and economic growth on both sides of the Atlantic.

The agreement would boost trade and lead to greater efficiency and an improved commercial position in global trade for all the countries participating. It has also the potential to stimulate our bilateral trade and investment ties, including in the energy sector. The crisis in Ukraine reminded us about how important is an energy supply diverse and sustainable and of the need to enhance the transatlantic cooperation in this field.

The Romanian government supports the successful finalization of the TTIP negotiations based on the objectives that I have mentioned. Romania is interested in a more active presence of the American companies in our economy through direct investments and in having a more open American market for the Romanian businesses. 

Let me congratulate again our hosts for taking the initiative to organize this conference which offers the best opportunity for very useful exchange of views. 

As the business community and the general public in Romania become increasingly interested in following the stages of the TTIP negotiations, this event, I am very sure, will better show the positions and expectations of the Romanian social and economic partners, in this debate.

TTIP concerns the world’s two largest economies today and it would be a significant precedent for the rest of the world. It is an opportunity for the EU and the US to set the highest possible standards for the international trade that should be fully used, for the benefit of the transatlantic relations.

Thank you!