Brussels, May 13 (MTI) – It is “highly unlikely” that a deal will be reached this year on the TTIP free trade pact between the United States and the European Union, István Mikola, state secretary at the Hungarian foreign ministry, said in Brussels on Friday.
Speaking after a meeting of EU foreign ministers, Mikola said Friday’s talks focused on the TTIP and the EU-Canada CETA deal. While most member states were not overly optimistic about the state of the TTIP talks, negotiations on CETA are reaching their final stages, he said. The agreement will be signed in the summer, after which the ratification process can begin, Mikola added.
The state secretary called CETA a very important agreement “which we will all benefit from”. The TTIP pact, however, still needs a lot of work and it is unlikely to be signed in the near future, he said.
The debate about TTIP centered on the proposed investor-state dispute settlement mechanism and the overall nature of the pact. Hungary does not support the dispute settlement mechanism in its current state, but the US is committed to it, Mikola said. He said Hungary, like several other member states, wants TTIP to be a “mixed” agreement, requiring ratification by national parliaments. If the deal is not good enough, it can be vetoed “in the last minute”, he said.
The 14th round of TTIP negotiations is expected to take place in Brussels in July.
The meeting also touched on China’s alleged dumping of cheap steel products on the EU market, which officials said threatens jobs in the bloc’s steel industry.