The European Union and the United States have agreed to harmonise standards for food safety and nutrition and nanotechnology among the first collaborative research priorities to come out of trade and investment talks.
The TTIP – Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – talks took place in Washington, D.C. last week. The goal is to have compatible standards in the US and EU to remove tariffs and unnecessary regulation, and to facilitate trade.
“Healthcare and clinical measurements, food safety and nutrition, as well as nanotechnology will be subject of the development and harmonisation of methods, indicators and documentary standards,” the European Commission said in a statement following the initial talks.
Planned activities include providing access to each other's scientific infrastructure, exchange of scientific and technological information, exchange of experts and support for the training of scientists, engineers and technical experts.
The two markets hope to finalise negotiations by October 2014, with the next round of talks due to take place in Brussels this October.
The US is the EU's biggest export market for food and drink, accounting for €13.6bn worth of products in 2012, while the US is the EU's third largest source of food and drink imports, after Argentina and Brazil.
European food trade association FoodDrinkEurope has welcomed the talks, saying that they have “potential to drive growth and facilitate access to a major export market, thereby generating new opportunities for Europe’s food and drink manufacturers."
The minutes from the first round of talks are available to download here .