Reports of an envisaged free trade agreement between the EU and the USA first began to surface as far back as the early 1990s. However, it was not until February 2013 that US Presi-dent Obama announced the commencement of exploratory talks. Since then, interest has grown in the specific content of such an agreement and the potential advantages and disad-vantages it could bring. The EU Commission's website calls it “the greatest trade agreement in the world”.
European and American negotiators especially emphasise the positive impact such an agree-ment would have on growth, prices and jobs. Critics, on the other hand, fear far-reaching limitations on national sovereignty and, most notably, significant restrictions on jurisdiction as a result of its comprehensive “investor protection”. Under it, investors would be able to sue before dedicated arbitration tribunals if they believed that national regulations had damnified their anticipated profits. Despite this, the Grand Coalition in Germany has agreed to seek a “swift conclusion” of the TTIP.
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