Tuesday, May 21, 2013

EU wants to exclude utilities from U.S. trade talks

The European Union wants to exclude much of the utility sector from a prospective EU-U.S. free trade agreement in order to protect government controlled infrastructure, the latest draft of the EU's mandate for the negotiations showed on Tuesday.

Unlike in the United States, many national European electricity grids and power generators are state controlled, and governments fear that a deal supporting the free flow of U.S. companies and money into the sector would erode their influence over assets seen as vital to national infrastructure.

"The high quality of the EU's public utilities should be preserved," said the draft, seen by Reuters, which sought in particular to exclude "services supplied in exercise of government authorities."