27/03/2015 06:55 GMT | Updated 26/05/2015 06:59 BST

TTIP: Opportunities and Risk of an EU-US Free Trade Agreement


It has the potential to create the world's largest bilateral free-trade area, creating jobs and boosting economic growth on both sides of the Atlantic, yet the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) has proved controversial from the start.

Although the free trade agreement would create trading opportunities, by removing unnecessary regulation and red tape, it would also affect many other areas of life. Issues that still need to be worked out include public health, access to the US public procurement market and the so-called Investor-State Dispute Settlement clause, a mechanism to help solve disputes between investors and countries.

Any deal would still have to be approved by the European Council and the European Parliament. The latter has already said it would not green light an agreement at any cost. Before negotiations even started, MEPs adopted a resolution saying that the EU's high standards on consumer protection, social rights and the protection of health, the environment and privacy should be retained and reinforced in the agreement.

MEPs have also consistently stressed the need for transparency, which led the European Commission, conducting negotiations on behalf of the EU, to publish the EU's position documents.

The international trade committee is responsible for drafting Parliament's position, based on a report prepared by Bernd Lange, a German member of the S&D group. However, the final vote will only take place once the other 14 committees involved have given their opinions. MEPs are due to debate and vote on the EP's position before summer.

Copyright infographic European ParliamentFor more information, check out our briefings on TTIP.