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TTIP Action

Froman Signs TPP
US Trade Representative Michael Froman signed the TPP in Auckland, New Zealand on Feb. 4 along with the Ministers from all nations part of the agreement. Photo credit: @usembassynz
 

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Brussels
The 12th round of TTIP negotiations is scheduled for the week of February 22, in Brussels.  Catch up on the results of the 11th round here.
 

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New Zealand announced this week that it will host the signing of the TPP in Auckland on Thursday, February 4. (New Zealand Government)

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IN FOCUS

The Priorities of the Dutch Presidency in the Area of International Trade Policy

"The negotiations on the FTA between the EU and the US (TTIP) are a subject of public interest in the European Union. Given the European Council’s ambition of concluding the negotiations quickly, the Netherlands Presidency will work to move the process forward efficiently, while paying due regard to the public debate surrounding the agreement."

The Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Ms. Lilliane Ploumen, presented the international trade priorities of the Dutch Council Presidency, highlighting the conclusion of ongoing free trade agreement negotiations in a transparent and efficient manner. The trade priorities are described within a larger report on the Council Presidency's priorities. (European Parliament Committees)

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WEF in Davos 2016
The World Economic Forum is currently gathering in Davos, Switzerland.  The Forum started on January 20 and will conclude on January 23.  (World Economic Forum)

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Graphic of the Week

TTIP&TRADEinAction Jan 21, 2016
Photo Credit: @EU_TTIP_Team

To read more about what industrial sectors stand to gain from TTIP, check out a sector by sector analysis by the Atlantic Council, the Bertelsmann Foundation, and the British Embassy in Washington, DC here
 

Speeches & Announcements

Commissioner Malmström: Progress on Trade and the Need for Debate

"We have some of the highest standards in the world when it comes to the environment, food safety, healthcare and social services. They reflect our values. We are justifiably proud of them. We should defend and promote them. But doing that also means cooperating more closely with countries like the United States and Canada. Because - since they also have high standards - together we will have more possibilities to promote these approaches in the wider world."  - Cecilia Malmström

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström traveled to Berlin last week to meet with ministers, members of parliament and stakeholders to discuss the state of TTIP negotiations and the wider EU trade agenda. At the Welt Economic Summit, she praised the progress made in 2015 in TTIP negotiations and the implementation of other trade agreements, and addressed critics' concerns about maintaining standards, investment protection mechanisms, and transparency. (European Commission)

 To read the full speech, click here.

Draft Rule Paves the Way for EU Exports of Apples and Pears to the United States

"It is a welcome reflection of the increased level of engagement by the Commission with the US administration. It will be of significant benefit to European farmers, many of whom lost their main export markets overnight as a result of Russian sanctions imposed in 2014." - Joint Statement

EU Health and Food Safety Commissioner Adriukaitis, Trade Commissioner Malmström, and Agriculture Commissioner Hogan released a joint statement on Saturday about a change to an American law, paving the way for EU fruit exports to gain access to American markets.  European fruit exporters have been hit especially hard by the sanctions on Russia, as they lost access to a major market essentially overnight.  (European Commission)

Investment Plan for Europe: EIF and Komercni banka Sign Agreements to Benefit over 2,300 SMEs

"With the COSME agreement being signed today by Komercni banka and the EIF more than 2,300 very small businesses and SMEs in the Czech Republic will be able to access funding through new loans. With the Investment Plan we are supporting the backbone of our economy." - Elzbieta Bienkowska, EU Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship, and SMEs

The European Investment Fund (EIF) and Komercni banka signed a Competitiveness of Small and Medium Size Enterprises (COSME) agreement and an EaSI microfinance transaction in the Czeck Republic with support from the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), which is at the core of the Commission's Investment Plan for Europe.  In 2015, the Czeck Republic had the largest increase in the creation of new firms in the past seven years, and the two programs will do a lot to provide financing for entrepreneurs on the front line of new business in Europe. (European Commission)
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To learn more about the COSME Program, click here.
 

News

EU Commissioner Says Trade Deal Possible before US Presidential Vote

In an interview with German news agency dpa, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström said that she believed TTIP could be finalized before the end of the Obama administration. In response to criticism of TTIP in Germany, she defends the negotiations and emphasizes that TTIP negotiations are the most transparent trade negotiations to date. She went on to say that an agreement would not be reached at any cost, but that it would be a shame if a deal could not be reached by the end of year. (Europe Online)
 

TTIP&TRADEinAction Partners

Rigoni di Asiago, a century old family-owned company from Italy, produces delicious, organically farmed and GMO free jams, honeys and chocolate spreads. A family business that, with time, has become an international brand, Rigoni di Asiago is inspired by traditional recipes and supported by continual research and innovation, to achieve the finest and tastiest products that are both good for the consumer and respect nature.

Marsilli is a global manufacturing solutions provider of coil/motor winding and assembly systems for the automotive, appliance, industrial, consumer, and RFID electronics industries.
 

Recent Analysis

TTIP, the Bullied Kid of Twitter

The unfortunate reality of the social media world's opinion of TTIP, TPP, and CETA is not good.  This analysis, conducted by Sabina Maria Ciofu and Nicolae Stefanuta, indicates that anti-TTIP tweets make up 99% of all tweets about TTIP over the month of October 2015.  However, the majority of negative tweets were sent in the context of large anti TTIP rallies held in October, and have greatly leveled off. The authors suggest that there is a great opportunity for the pro-TTIP community to debunk fearful myths and increase understanding for the agreement through the establishment of a constructive, easy-to-grasp, engaging, and honest communication strategy. (Georgetown Public Policy Review)

Why TTIP is Stuck in the Muck

According to Rod Hunter writing for Politico, the root of some of the obstacles in the ongoing TTIP negotiations are the underlying differences in the US and EU regulatory systems; National officials from EU member states tend to adopt a politicized regulatory approach and micro-manage outcomes. The author suggests "To unlock the potential of TTIP, this basic problem in the EU regulatory process needs to be addressed.  The EU should expand transparency and public participation and, critically, liberalize rules allowing interested parties - whether businesses or activist groups - to challenge executive rules." (Politico)

Open for Business What a TTIP Means for the UK Auto Sector

BritishAmerican Business writes about the benefits TTIP could offer British business, particularly the auto industry.  Regulation harmonization could substantially affect the UK auto industry, and make it much easier to export to the United States.  With sales in Europe declining, greater access to the US market would be a big opportunity; industry analysis predicts output could increase by 7% and exports by 25% thanks to TTIP.  (BritishAmerican Business)

How Obama Can Revive His Stalling Trade Pacts

Writing for the Wall Street Journal, Robert Zoellick, former president of the World Bank, highlights major obstacles facing ongoing TTIP negotiations and offers some solutions to get past them.  Despite facing a divided US Congress in an election year, the Obama administration can still make strides on TTIP, particularly if the negotiators agree on a phased elimination of almost all tariffs, principles of sound regulation, and minimize duplication while assuring their citizens that the United States and the European Union will retain sovereign autonomy and accountability. (The Wall Street Journal)
 

The TransPacific Partnership - News & Analysis

Remarks by Ambassador Michael Froman to the US Conference of Mayors

At the US Conference of Mayors earlier today, US Trade Representative Mike Froman rallied for the Mayors' support for TPP. Ambassador Froman announced that in the upcoming weeks, he and his team want to work with the mayors to gain wide spread support for TPP by explaining the benefits to small businesses in their respective cities. He concludes by saying "with this historic TPP agreement in hand, your cities are closer than ever to realizing its benefits. Together, we can get it done." (United States Trade Representative)

Secretary of State Kerry Remarks on US Foreign Policy 

Speaking at the National Defense University, earlier last week, Secretary Kerry addressed a range of issues, discussing Syria, refugees, and climate change, among other topics. With regards to trade, he emphasized the benefits of the Transpacific Partnership, highlighting improved labor and environmental standards, economic benefits but also how TPP will ultimately build security by "rebalanc[ing] towards the region, advancing American leadership in the largest emerging market in the world." (US Department of State)
 

The Bigger Picture - Trade in Action

US Trade Representative 2015 Year in Review

Tradewinds, the official blog of US Trade Representative, talks about the state of trade in America, and specifically what the Obama Administration has done to improve it.  The article mentions how US exports have broken records for the fifth year in a row and continue to promote domestic job growth, how US trade rights are protected, international market access is secured, and how economic ties abroad promote American values and standards. (Tradewinds)

Members of Parliament Support Ambitious Global Trade Pact

The four largest parties in the European Parliament - the European People's Party, Socialists and Democrats, European Conservative and Reformists, and the Liberals - all back the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA).  The TiSA seeks to cover up to 70% of global trade in services, in particular the flow of data between countries which makes up roughly half of services traded.  (Politico)

European Union and China Agree on Scope of the Future Investment Deal

European and Chinese negotiators came to an agreement that the future deal needs to address market access, the regulatory environment, investment protection, and environmental and labor law.  The negotiations are slated to progress into a phase of specific text-based negotiations. (European Commission)

Malmström Blog-Supporting Ukraine

European Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmström, posted on her blog about her meeting with the Foreign Minister of Ukraine and her attendance at the Council of EU Foreign Ministers.  In the post, she praised the successful implementation of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) in Ukraine, and speaks of its specific benefits to Ukraine.  She goes on to highlight the detrimental isolationism of Russia, who imposed more sanctions on Ukraine this week. (European Commission)
 

Upcoming Events

The Precautionary Principle in TTIP: Trade Barrier or Essential for Consumer Protection? January 26, 2016, hosted by the Trans Atlantic Consumer Dialogue, with EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström, in Brussels - More Information 

TTIP and EU Member States
 - January 27, 2016, hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce to the European Union (AmCham EU), in Brussels - More Information

The Future Trans-Atlantic Trade
 - January 28, 2016, hosted by the British American Business Council, with Ambassador of the European Union to the United States David O'Sullivan - More Information

The US-EU Economic Relationship
The Future of TTIP:  February 3, 2016- Join the World Affairs Council, the Washington State Council on International Trade, and the British American Business Council - Pacific Northwest - in Seattle, Washington, to discuss the TTIP - More Information

Opportunities and Potential of TTIP
 - February 29, 2016; hosted by thre Bavarian Trade Union in Passau, Germany - More Information 

The Next Round of TTIP Negotiations is expected to take place the week of February 22, in Brussels. Want to refresh your memory on what has been discussed in the 11th round of negotiations? Read the detailed report here or the final day remarks here.
Angela Merkel
German Chancellor Angela Merkel gave her support for TTIP on her weekly
podcast on Saturday, January 10. (The Federal Chancellor)

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President Obama Talks TPP in his Final State of the Union Address:
"... we forged a Trans-Pacific Partnership to open markets, and protect workers and the environment, and advance American leadership in Asia.  It cuts 18,000 taxes on products made in America, which will then support more good jobs here in America.  With TPP, China does not set the rules in that region; we do.  You want to show our strength in this new century?  Approve this agreement.  Give us the tools to enforce it." 
- President Barack Obama

Last night, President Obama gave his final State of the Union Address, elaborating on topics such as the US criminal justice system, immigration, gun violence, health care, unemployment, the state of the economy, innovation, among many others. With regards to trade, he mostly focused on the TPP, which is not surprising given that the conclusion of the TPP negotiations dominated the US public debate on trade for most of 2015. Given his visit to Europe in April, where he will "talk TTIP" with Chancellor Merkel, public debate might gradually shift their focus to TTIP negotiations. 
To read his speech in its entirety, please click here.

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King Willem-Alexander and Martin Schulz
King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands met EP President Martin Schulz
during a visit to Brussels . The Monarch also visited the Council as part
of his country taking over the presidency of the European Council on 
1 January 2016. (European Parliament)

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Did you know?
Every six months a different member state holds the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. In 2016, the Netherlands will hold the Presidency for the twelfth time. The last time was in 2004.Read more about the rotating Council Presidency on the Netherlands' EU Presidency webpage.

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Holiday Malmstrom_2
EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström participates in a ceremony for Saint Lucy's Day, a holiday celebrating a 3rd century saint that is 
commonly celebrated in Scandinavia. (Photo Credit: Cecilia Malmström)

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Happy Holidays from TTIPAction
Today will mark the last TTIPAction newsletter of this year ahead of the holiday season.

Dear TTIPAction readers, 
Thank you so much for your help and support of TTIPAction over the course of 2015. It has been a pleasure working on this important topic with you, and I am looking forward to continuing to update you on “all things TTIP” and trade in 2016. 

I wish you and your families a happy holiday season and a happy New Year. In case you cannot wait until the first newsletter in January, keep updated by following me on twitter @TTIPAction

Marie Kasperek
Managing Editor, 
TTIP Action

For those of you who would like to get a taste of how Christmas is celebrated "European style", the European Delegation to the United States has made a list of all the European style Christmas markets around the United States. 

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8621511276_5b84b13dda_z
From December 8-11, Ambassador Froman will travel to the United Kingdom and Belgium for meetings on TTIP. He will meet with European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström for an informal meeting ahead of the next round of TTIP negotiations in early 2016. (Photo Credit: European Commission Audiovisual Service)

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TTIP Graphic of the Week

A deal so secretive that nobody knows it's the most open & transparent trade negotiation to date!
             ttip action dec 10
                                            Source: EU_TTIP_Team
In the context of their strategy to increase transparency of trade negotiations, the European Commission has "translated" TTIP to explain what it is really about- and what it is not about! Download your free copy here.

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Malmstrom Foreign Affairs Council_2
Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström speaks at a meeting of the European Union Foreign Affairs Council on November 27. (Photo Credit: The European Union)

TTIP Graphic of the Week

ttip sme

This graphic by the European Commission's TTIP Team clearly indicates the challenges European SMEs are currently facing in exporting to the united States and highlights the gains for small companies in TTIP. 

If you are interested in reading in more depth about what small and medium enterprises stand to gain from TTIP, we recommend reading our Atlantic Council report "Big Opportunities for Small Business."

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Obama Turkey Pardon_2
President Obama prepares to pardon a turkey during last year's pre-Thanksgiving Turkey Pardon ceremony. (Photo Credit: The White House) 

Want to know more about the whole process behind the Thanksgiving Turkey Pardon ceremony? Then we recommend this interesting National Public Radio article


This Week's Highlights


The TTIPAction Team wishes You and Your Families a Happy Thanksgiving!

Food for Thought 
study by the University of Illinois found that 46 million turkeys are eaten each Thanksgiving. In light of these numbers and the spirit of the upcoming US holidays, the TTIPAction team would like to eradicate a widely spread myth on the lowering of food standards in general and the EU import of chlorine chicken in particular, through TTIP.

Especially in Germany, these issues are at the forefront of criticism against TTIP. However, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has assured her electorate on several occasions that "food standards won't be lowered through TTIP", and that "Chlorine chicken will not be imported because of TTIP." 

In parallel to the Chancellor's promises, there have been independent studies from both the European Food Safety Authority and the US Congressional Research Service on the use of Pathogen Reduction Treatments in poultry production which concluded independently from each other that “chemical substances in poultry are unlikely to pose an immediate or acute health risk for consumers."

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