Is TTIP-Light Enough?

At the outset of the TTIP talks, people were talking up regulatory issues as the most important part. But perhaps it was just too much to deal with, at least in such a short period of time. Can everyone accept a “TTIP Light”? This is from Inside US Trade:

As the end of 2015 approaches, U.S. and EU trade officials are entering a new year without the “outline” of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) that political leaders had expressed hope for last summer. But what is becoming clear to both sides is that if a deal is to come together under the Obama administration, it will fall far short of the sweeping U.S.-EU regulatory alignment project that it was initially framed to be.

The plan of action for 2016, as laid out in private conversations by U.S. officials, is not focused on the regulatory cooperation side of the agenda. Instead, it envisions an exchange of modest government procurement market access offers by February. By summer of the new year, the aim is to be in the “middle game” of the negotiations, during which both sides envision having all the text of the deal essentially agreed and further advancement on sensitive areas.

Progress in the TTIP’s so-called “sectoral” regulatory talks — those dealing with the weedy differences in how each side regulates cars, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and other industrial sectors — has been slow. While there are some hints of progress on cars, sources say, regulators particularly on the U.S. side have not gotten the political direction to identify and pursue specific outcomes. As a result, many agree that any sectoral regulatory outcomes will be small if a TTIP deal is wrapped up in 2016.

Regulatory issues have been under discussion for many years prior to the TTIP. Was it unrealistic to expect much success in the TTIP?

And what about the future: Are there any U.S. Presidential candidates who might be interested in pursuing this agenda?