Speeches & Official Announcements
Standing Up for Workers: Promoting Labor Rights through Trade
"With TPP and T-TIP, we have a real opportunity to lock in the gains we have made in recent years to protect workers' rights, improve working conditions, shape globalization and level the global playing field for American workers."
The US Department of Labor and USTR jointly released a report highlighting how the US uses trade policy to promote and protect fundamental labor rights and ensure acceptable conditions of work with respect to minimum wages, maximum hours of work, and occupational safety and health. The Department of Labor, USTR, civil society organizations, and international agencies like the ILO are laying the foundation for an international trading system that defends the dignity of workers. TTIP and TPP are critical components of this US strategy. (USTR)
To read the full report, click here.
Benefits for Luxembourg: Eliminating Trade Barriers
Today, Cecilia MalmstrĂ¶m met with members of Luxembourg's Chamber of Deputies, Primer Minister Xavier Bettel, and other members of Luxembourg's government. She noted that TTIP would widen economic opportunities, while strengthening Luxembourg's and the EU's positions on the world scale. MalmstrĂ¶m reassured the audience at the UniversitĂ© de Luxembourg that the European Commission would do everything in its power to ensure that European citizens can participate directly in the process as TTIP moves forward. (Europa) - Original speech in French
Budget Hearing for the Department of State
"Between TPP and TTIP, we are pursuing two of the most ambitious and important trade agreements in recent history. Forty percent of global GDP is wrapped up in the TPP. If we can achieve that, we will have a definition of the new standards of doing business in the region." - Secretary of State, John Kerry
Secretary of State John Kerry supported TPP, TTIP, and the quick passage of trade promotion authority during his remarks before the House Appropriations Committee on Foreign Operations yesterday. He underlined the importance of setting the standard for doing business and the rules of the economy and trade, noting that it was much better for the US to be standard makers than allow other countries to write the future rules of global commerce. (US Department of State)
Commissioner MalmstrĂ¶m meets with German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel during a SPD Conference on TTIP in Berlin.
Speeches & Official Announcements
Letter from Cecilia MalmstrĂ¶m to British Minister of State for Trade and Investment
"There is no need to fear either for the NHS as it stands today or for changes to the NHS in [the] future, as a result of TTIP or indeed EU trade policy more broadly."
In her letter to British Trade Minister Lord Ian Livingston, Cecilia MalmstrĂ¶m attempts to correct some of the misconceptions circulating about TTIP and the NHS in the UK. She noted that EU member-state governments will continue to manage their public services however they see fit. MalmstrĂ¶m also underlined the importance of the thriving private market for health services in the EU. (Europa)
Trade Delegation Arrives in Tokyo, Meets with Prime Minister Abe
Members of the congressional delegation led by Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan arrived in Tokyo last Wednesday to round out a trip to three countries in Asia. Upon meeting with Japan's Minister of Economic Revitalization Akira Amari, the delegation discussed the mutual benefits that a strong TPP agreement could provide. They stressed to the Minister the need for Japan to make progress on particular market-access issues like agriculture and automobiles as well as to continue to work together for a positive outcome in rules negotiations. (Committee on Ways and Means)
TTIP: Freedom and Responsibility, by Cecilia MalmstrĂ¶m
"The European Union and the United States are much more similar than the debates on TTIP would suggest [...] on human rights and democracy, on open markets and on high standards of regulatory protection." - Cecilia MalmstrĂ¶m
Cecilia MalmstrĂ¶m highlighted the importance of negotiating TTIP responsibly by making sure nothing gets in the way of high quality public services like health and water and by protecting strong regulation on health, safety, and the environment. Finally, MalmstrĂ¶m concluded that it was important to recognize that Europe, as the world's largest foreign investor, has an interest in rules that means investors are fairly treated. In order to promote increased transparency, national governments have an important role to play in making sure the debate around TTIP focuses on facts. (Europa)
We Should Make Sure the Future Is Written by Us, by President Barack Obama
"As we speak, China is trying to write the rules for trade in the twenty-first century. That would put our workers and our businesses at a massive disadvantage. We can't let that happen. We should write those rules."
In last week's weekly Presidential address, President Obama underscored the importance of supporting good-paying jobs for US workers by opening up new markets for American goods and services. Obama sought to address concerns about past trade deals, and called on Congress to pass TPA so that the US, not China, can play a leading role in negotiating twenty-first century trade deals that protect US workers, support good wages, and help grow the middle class. (The White House)
To see the video, click here.
Remarks by Ambassador Michael Froman to the National Association of Counties
"Trade policy might not be at the top of your agenda every day. You've got roads to fix and schools to manage. But done right, trade policy is a necessary component of any community's successful economic strategy. Done right, trade agreements help position the US as the most attractive place to invest and produce - a place where people want to make things, grow things, and then sell them all over the world."
Addressing elected officials from nearly all counties in the US, Michael Froman sought to demonstrate the importance of trade on economic recovery, job creation, and "Middle Class Economics." Froman concluded by emphasizing the need for an updated bipartisan trade promotion authority which would meet the needs of today's global economy. It would empower America to continue leading on trade, bring jobs to individual communities and unlock opportunities for millions of Americans. (USTR)
One of the most frequent refrains by critics of the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is that the US and Europe already enjoy close economic and political ties â€” what need is there for a signed and ratified treaty?
As Dr. Dan Hamilton, Executive Director of John Hopkinsâ€™ Center for Transatlantic Relations, stated during Georgetown Universityâ€™s 2015 Transatlantic Policy Symposium, disagreements between the Europeans and the Americans seem to stem from what Sigmund Freud called, â€śthe narcissism of the small differencesâ€ť. It is precisely the minor differences in the European and American economies â€“ who are broadly alike â€“ that forms the basis of feelings of the hostility engendered by TTIP.
Speeches & Official Announcements
TTIP: Subsidiarity and Other Shared Transatlantic Principles, by Cecilia MalmstrĂ¶m
"You can rest assured that TTIP will not limit our ability to regulate or provide public services the way we want. [...] TTIP won't undermine our ability to help and protect the people we represent, it will strengthen it."
Addressing the Plenary Session of the Committee of the Regions on February 12, Trade Commissioner MalmstrĂ¶m underlined the similar values and principles shared by the US and EU, such as open markets, rule of law, and the respect for individuals and their human rights. She noted that regulation in Europe is decided by the EU, national governments, or local authorities and that TTIP cannot and would not change that. Finally, MalmstrĂ¶m concluded that subsidiarity had a place in international affairs. (Europa)
President Obama: "Writing the Rules for 21st Century Trade"
"My top priority as President is making sure more hardworking Americans have a chance to get ahead. That's why we have to make sure the United States - and not countries like China - is the one writing this century's rules for the world's economy."
Yesterday afternoon, President Obama sent a message to the White House email list, explaining why it was important to ensure that America is the country that write this century's rules for the world economy. The President noted that TPP would establish enforceable commitments to protect labor, environmental, and other crucial standards that Americans hold dear, and emphasized the importance of TPA, asking Americans to give him the tools he need to grow US economy, boost US exports and give hardworking middle-class families a chance to get ahead. (White House)
To see the accompanying video, please click here.
In Malaysia, Ryan Delegation Urges Progress in TPP Negotiations
"Our economy, our national security, and our very standing in the world are all tied to our trade agenda. [...] I look forward to talking more about expanding economic cooperation with our friends in Asia." - Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan
Last Monday, a congressional delegation led by Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan held meetings in Singapore, the first of three Asian nations the group will visit on the week-long trip, followed by Malaysia on Tuesday. The eight-member delegation will meet with senior government officials and American and local business leaders in an effort to advance the US trade agenda and strengthen ties with these countries. (Committee on Ways and Means)
TTIP: On Course to Deliver for the UK, by Cecilia MalmstrĂ¶m
"The price of admission to a discussion is as important as this is that you base your arguments on facts, not distortions. If people are taking the time to listen and learn then we owe them the truth, not a new batch of euromyths. People have rightly said that they need more transparency in order to do that. That's why we have provided it."
Last Monday Cecilia MalmstrĂ¶m underlined the benefits of TTIP for the UK, stating that it would help the UK's economy grow and its people prosper; that it would help the EU and the US cooperate to strengthen, not weaken, the governments' ability to respond to people's needs at home; and finally that it would strengthen Europe's cooperation in the wider world, at a time when it's more important than ever. By putting many of the EU's proposals for legal text on-line, MalmstrĂ¶m hopes that educated debate will revolve around TTIP. (Europa)
Transatlantic and Global Trade, and Security, by Cecilia MalmstrĂ¶m
"Trade policy will not solve our security challenges. [...] But if done right, it can make a contribution, helping set the economic framework for peace."
Addressing the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, Cecilia MalmstrĂ¶m sought to show the links between security and trade policy. She noted that trade and open markets for raw materials and energy can boost security while also pointing out how geopolitical reasoning can help trade policy be more effective at meeting its own goals. Neither narrow economic nor security views of trade or foreign policy will provide the right policy answers: it is essential to combine them both in order to achieve growth, jobs, and stability. (Europa)
To see the European Commission's video on the "Benefits of TTIP", please click here.
Speeches & Official Announcements
Made in America: What You Might Not Know About American Exports
"In 2014 the United States exported more Made-in-America goods and services than ever before. US exports supported 11.3 million American jobs in 2013. And those jobs pay better wages than non-export related jobs."
With 95% of the world's potential consumers living outside its borders, American workers and businesses need every opportunity export their goods and services abroad in order for America to remain a globally competitive leader in the twenty-first century economy. When the playing field is level, American workers and businesses succeed. That is why the US needs to ensure that it is writing the rules and raising standards globally, including enforceable labor and environmental standards in partner countries. (The White House Blog)
Cutting Red Tape, Safeguarding Standards - Regulatory Cooperation in EU-US Trade Talks
"With TTIP, we want to build bridges between EU and US regulators to make regulations more compatible - without lowering health, safety, environment, or consumer protection standards. Again - we will not in any way lower our high standards, but uphold them." - Cecilia MalmstrĂ¶m
EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia MalmstrĂ¶m sought to cut through the speculation and misunderstanding around TTIP and clarify what future EU-US regulatory cooperation would entail. Ms. MalmstrĂ¶m underlined that this regulatory cooperation would work on technical areas where the EU and US regulations were already similar, such as car safety, engineering, and medical devices, while staying well away from areas where opinions diverge. MalmstrĂ¶m noted that getting rid of unnecessary red tape is at the heart of what they want to achieve. (European Commission)
TTIP and Culture
"Investment provisions in trade agreements are meant to protect, not expose, EU cultural industries. Promoting cultural diversity will remain a guiding principle for TTIP, just as it has been in other EU trade agreements."
While the US has a strong interest in gaining access to markets for services related to films and television, the EU believes such services play a special part in culture and so should be treated differently to other services. Culture has usually enjoyed special treatment in trade talks. Since subsidies to culture are systematically excluded from trade agreements, national authorities remain free to promote and financially support domestic cultural activities. (European Commission)
Statement by Ambassador Michael Froman on the 2016 Budget Request for the Office of the US Trade Representative
"The President's budget reflects the importance the Administration places on strong trade enforcement, setting high labor and environment standards, and expanding trade and investment to support more good paying jobs." - Ambassador Froman
The President's fiscal year 2015 budget request included critical funding for key priorities such as strong enforcement of trade rules and expanded trade and investment. The $56 million request for the Office of the USTR supports the President's broader vision for protecting American workers and creating new economic opportunities. Mr. Froman stated that "the budget puts more resources where we need them to hold other countries accountable when they don't play by the rules and help us to export more Made-in-America goods and services" and underlined that he looked forward to working with Congress to add to the 11 million jobs already supported by exports. (Office of the United States Trade Representative)
Speeches & Official Announcements
German Chancellor Angela Merkel: TTIP Is in our Interest
"I believe the benefits [of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership] significantly outweigh [its] potential risks."
Ahead of her trip to the US and Canada, Chancellor Merkel said that a transparent discussion is needed to address the often unwarranted fears about the effects of TTIP. She insisted that European standards, such as environmental protection standards, will not be weakened as a result of TTIP. Moreover, the Chancellor demanded that national courts are not annulled by the ISDS mechanism. Finally, Merkel cited the TPP negotiations happening across the globe to underscore that the European Union's needs TTIP to boost economic growth and assure its position as major player in world trade. (YouTube) - In German
8th Round of TTIP Negotiations - Remarks by Ignacio Garcia Bercero (Chief EU Negotiator) and Dan Mullaney (Chief US Negotiator)
Bercero "The regulatory cluster is the most innovative cluster of TTIP as it goes beyond what either the EU or the US have done in their [previous] trade agreements."
Mullaney "The fundamental principle of our work in the regulatory issues in TTIP is to ensure that nothing that we do will undermine the ability of governments to regulate in ways that we consider necessary to protect consumers, workers, and the environment."
Mullaney explained that this week's negotiations mostly covered issues ranging from regulatory coherence to technical barriers of trade, and sanitarian measures. Both negotiators stressed that a TTIP agreement would have a particularly positive impact on SMEs by cutting red tape in the customs process and provide SMEs with better access to information about export and import provisions. (Europa)
Remarks by Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Munich Security Conference
"Protectionism and barriers to trade are failed recipes from the past. These recipes are outdated in a time of increasingly free trade."
Merkel affirmed that Germany is strongly pushing for a free trade agreement with the United States. The Chancellor warned that the European Union must not stand still while countries in Asia are signing a large number of free trade agreements. She also pointed to the potential for a free trade deal that would include the United States, the European Union, and the Eurasian Union. However, Merkel cautioned that such a project could only go ahead if Russia stops its aggression in Ukraine. (Bundesregierung.de) - Original Article in German
Remarks by Vice President Biden at the Munich Security Conference
"Just as NATO reinforces the norms of global security, TTIP can strengthen the global trading system and to the benefit of people everywhere, even as it ties our two continents more closely together."
Vice President Biden contended that the TTIP is vital t o ensure the continuing strength of the US and the European economies. Biden emphasized that TTIP does not take a backseat to the TPP by saying that the United States is both a Pacific and an Atlantic power. Furthermore, the Vice President stressed the importance of shaping globalization and the global economy with help of trade agreements such as TTIP and TPP. (Whitehouse.gov)
Remarks by Secretary of State John Kerry, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius at the Munich Security Conference
"Today, for example, even as we concentrate on regional initiatives like improving our energy security and completing the hugely important Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, we and our European partners are also leading - and I mean leading - the responses to global challenges like climate change and Ebola."
Secretary of State Kerry identified TTIP as a potential cornerstone of the transatlantic relations. Kerry also emphasized that the current trade negotiations about TTIP and the TPP are a testament of the strength of the international system and the growing interconnectedness between the world's economies. (Department of State)
Blog Post by EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom: Cutting Red Tape, Safeguarding Standards - Regulatory Cooperation in EU-US Trade Talks
" With TTIP, we want to build bridges between the EU and US regulators to make regulation more compatible - without lowering health, safety, environment or consumer protection standards."
The EU Trade Commissioner argued that the sophisticated regulatory regimes in the United States and the European Union often have "different, but equivalent solutions to the same problem." According to Malmstrom, better regulatory cooperation in these areas would create jobs and maintain the already high standards on both sides of the Atlantic. In addition, areas of disagreement will not be part of regulatory cooperation efforts. As a result, TTIP could significantly reduce red tape and thus foster more transatlantic trade. (EU Commission)
Please follow this link to read the EU Commission's official proposal on regulatory cooperation: EU Commission
Please follow this link to read the EU Commission's fact sheet on regulatory cooperation: EU Commission
Leaders Make the Case for Trade at the Atlantic Council
Thanks to Congressman Dave Reichert for kicking off our excellent event on the 2015 Trade Agenda and the Trans-Pacific Partnership this morning!
You can find out more about our event and watch video highlights here.
Atlantic Council Launches EconoGraphics
Today, the Atlantic Council is launching a new weekly series called EconoGraphics--a weekly take on important issues pertaining to the global economy. A project of the Council's Global Business and Economics Program, EconoGraphics aims to present complex economic and political ideas visually in a simple and intuitive fashion. Through this new medium, the Council will bring clarity to major global economic and policy developments so that they can quickly be better understood by experts and non-experts alike.
Eight Round of TTIP Negotiations Take Place in Brussels
Of course, this week is a pivotal one for the TTIP negotiations as the US delegation has traveled--in larger numbers than ever before--to Brussels to continue the conversations with the European Commission. Talks this week are expected to focus on market access and regulatory standard setting, and the US has brought a sizable contingent of regulatory agency staff this time around.
As this week's round marks the first formal negotiating session since the heralded launch of the "fresh start" of the negotiations that Commissioner MalmstrĂ¶m has called for, real and tangible progress is needed to keep up the momentum towards concluding an ambitious deal in the foreseeable future.
If you're interested, the European Commission has set up a video feed with a live view into the negotiating room!
Speeches & Official Announcements
Ryan Opening Statement: Hearing on US Trade Policy Agenda
"The fact is, if we don't write the rules of the global economy, other countries will. They already are. Other countries, like China, are putting in place new trade agreements among themselves. So it's a simple as this: If we're not moving forward, we're falling behind."
The Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, Paul Ryan (R-WI) made a compelling case for expanding American trade with the help of the TPP and TTIP. Ryan cautioned, however, that Congress must first pass Trade Promotion Authority to assure our trade partners that the United States is negotiating in good faith. This in turn would enable the administration to push for concessions and negotiate the best deals possible. Moreover, Ryan argued that TPA would allow Congress to be a proactive force to shape the TPP and TTIP negotiations. (House Ways and Means Committee)
Hatch Statement at Finance Hearing on President Obama's 2015 Trade Agenda
"Let me be clear here: It would be a grave mistake for the administration to close TPP before Congress enacts TPA. Doing so may lead to doubt as to whether the US could have gotten a better agreement, ultimately eroding support for TPP and jeopardizing its prospects for passage in Congress."
Tuesday's Senate Finance Committee's hearing on US trade policy covered a broad range of issues from agriculture market access to currency manipulation concerns. While Republican Senator Orrin Hatch praised Ambassador Froman and TPP, top Democrats Sander Levin and Ron Wyden argued that rather than pass TPA at this late stage of TPP negotiations, Congress should ensure that the administration comes back with a good deal and highlight the currency manipulation issue. While Ambassador Froman deferred to Treasury Secretary Lew on issues of currency manipulation, he stated that he felt confident in the progress of trade negotiations, with the time frame for completing TPP being "a small number of months." He also argued in favor of TPA, which would give Congress a bigger stake in the discussions and their ability to steer the contents of agreements. (Senate Finance Committee)
Wyden Hearing Statement on the President's Trade Policy Agenda
"Trade agreements need to bulldoze barriers and open new markets to exports made by America's middle class - the things we grow or raise, build, or forge. Done right, trade agreements can help grow the paychecks of middle-class families. That will help take our economic recovery from a walk to a sprint."
Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), underscored the benefits of export-driven jobs for working class families. At the same time, Wyden urged the administration to ensure that future trade agreements will not hurt the middle class. Therefore, he demanded better enforcement of US trade laws and agreements to protect American workers from unfair trade strategies such as dumping pricing. Wyden also stressed that actionable behind-the-border enforcement measures, for issues like labor rights and environmental protections, must be an integral part of TPP and TTIP. Finally, he argued that the administration should improve the transparency of the negotiating process to enable the public to inform itself about what is at stake in the negotiations of the two trade deals. (Senate Finance Committee)
TTIP Spotlight on the Sensitive Issues at EP Public Hearing
On January 27, MEPs Pavel Svoboda and Bernd Lange chaired a hearing of the International Trade and Legal Affairs Committees discussing the main issues behind TTIP negotiations. The need for more transparency and clearer rules on mediation procedures for ISDS was underlined. Commission officials tried to assure MEPs that regulatory cooperation does not mean regulatory harmonization or the lowering of EU standards. (European Parliament)
Speeches & Official Announcements
Remarks by John Kerry After Meeting with EU High Representative Federica Mogherini
"The range of our dialogue and our ability to be able to coordinate actions is really a source of strength. It's a source of strength on both sides of the Atlantic, and we appreciate the cooperation and the relationship very, very much." - Secretary of State John Kerry
On her first trip overseas, High Representative Mogherini met with Secretary of State Kerry to discuss key areas of cooperation on global issues and current hot spots as well as the future of the transatlantic partnership. Mogherini emphasized the strategic importance of the TTIP negotiations, as the agreement would create the world's largest free trade area, "injecting momentum into the development of global rules in areas where multilateral negotiations have stalled." (US Department of State)
An Interview with US Ambassador to the EU, Anthony Gardner
"I'm confident we will see at the next round in early February, and following this round, some concrete proposals to show the public that the fresh start is indeed fresh and that we are making progress in both directions: improving our existing offers and proposals and in areas where we haven't yet been able to make announcements." - Anthony Gardner
Anthony Gardner highlighted Washington's policy priorities in terms of its close relationship with the EU. He emphasized the importance of greater transparency, accountability and stakeholder participation in the process of EU-US regulatory policymaking. Although the US does not plan on following the EU's example of publishing specific negotiating papers, Gardner emphasized that US negotiating objectives are listed clearly on the USTR website. (Europolitics)
Remarks of Treasury Secretary Lew with European Commission Vice President for the Euro and Social Dialogue Valdis Dombrovskis
"We are ... working together with our European partners on an important agreement to further link the economies of the United States and Europe. TTIP is a priority for the Administration and the conversations have been progressing in a very constructive way." - US Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew
Speaking to a European audience, Secretary Lew emphasized the challenges still facing the global economy and the importance of taking a comprehensive approach to durable economic growth. This includes setting up debt firewalls, improving transparency in the banking sector, enhancing the transmission of monetary policy, and reducing the fear of a potential Greek exit from the eurozone - as well as finalizing TTIP negotiations to enhance growth. (US Department of the Treasury)
To see the video of the press conference, click here.