The future of the much debated Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is far from assured. Apart from the difficulty in thrashing out an agreement acceptable to both sides of the Atlantic, negotiators also need to keep an eye on what would be acceptable to the European Parliament, as without its approval the deal cannot enter into force.
The Parliament's trade committee, which will be in charge of drafting a recommendation to MEPs on the final text of the agreement, has adopted a report, providing guidelines on the current negotiations.
Although the committee recognises that a well-designed deal could help boost the EU's gross domestic product 15-20% by 2020, it also points out that assessing TTIP's potential economic benefit is very difficult.
Trade MEPs insist on maintaining high levels of protection for health, safety and privacy as well as preventing social, fiscal and environmental dumping. They want an exhaustive list of sensitive agricultural and industrial products that would be exempt from cuts in custom tariffs or which would at least be subject to longer transitional periods.
In addition they say public services should be excluded from the agreement, including water, health, social security systems and education.
MEPs will vote on the trade committee report during the June plenary in Strasbourg next week, sending a clear signal to negotiators about what is and isn't acceptable to parliament. Once a final TTIP text has been produced,, MEPs will base their final vote on how much the Parliament's priorities have been respected.
Infographic copyright European Parliament