As it stands, the country is the largest economy in Europe, which has made moving trade negotiations forward difficult for Canada and the US.
Germany's opposition was in regards to investor-state dispute settlement clauses being included in new EU trade agreements. These allow foreign companies to seek compensation before international arbitration panels for government actions that hurt their investments.
Both sides of the Atlantic had disagreed, arguing that including such clauses is vital in attracting foreign investment and would be an attempt to modernise investor protection regimes and close loopholes in the system.
Negotiations prioritising the assessment of chemicals
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations aim to remove trade barriers in a wide range of economic sectors so as to make it easier to buy and sell goods and services between the EU and the US.
In a recent report following the sixth round of negotiations, the European Commission announced its' plan in the form of a set of projects, along with updates on other negotiation areas, including cosmetics and textiles.
At the meeting, the EU and US agreed to test initial ideas for cooperation in two pilot projects covering prioritisation of chemicals for assessment as well as classification and labelling, while fully respecting existing procedures on either side.
Discussions to date have focused on processes for regulating cosmetics ingredients (UV filters and colourants), labelling provisions, cosmetics standards/guidelines and alternatives to animal testing.
These meetings have also helped to further clarify each side's respective positions and gave impetus for increased technical collaboration and scientific exchanges in areas of common interest.
However, trade experts are still wary that the EU and US may struggle on an agreement, particularly in the area of prohibited ingredients.