US Secretary of State John Kerry speaking at the launch of the Atlantic Council's Trade and National Security Initiative
Speeches & Official Announcements
Want to Hold the President Accountable? Then the "Trade Promotion Authority" Bill Is for You." Without TPA, Congress can only react to the deal the president puts in front of it. But with TPA, Congress can assert its rightful role throughout the negotiations. The way it works is simple. Congress lays out about 150 negotiating objectives for the president to pursue, plus a number of transparency and consultation requirements. If the president meets all these requirements, Congress agrees to give the trade agreement an up-or-down vote." - Paul Ryan
The chairman of the House's Ways and Means Committee, Paul Ryan, released an Op-ed in the Independent Journal Review to outline how TPA will enable Congress to shape trade negotiations. According to Ryan, TPA will improve members of Congress' access to the content of trade negotiations through extended reading periods, more briefings by USTR staff, and the opportunity to attend negotiating rounds. Moreover, members of Congress will receive more oversight authority over negotiations. Finally, TPA improves the transparency of trade talks by requiring USTR to not only provide public summaries of ongoing negotiations and publicizing the text of the final agreement before a vote is held, but also by creating a USTR transparency officer who works with Congress and the public. (IJ Review)
Former Ambassadors Support TTIP, TPA In Letter To Congressional Leadership"As senior officials in the transatlantic relationship, former US Ambassadors to European countries, the European Union, and NATO who served under Republican and Democratic administrations, each of us has witnessed first-hand the tremendous diplomatic, economic, and security benefits that transatlantic relations bring the United States." - 17 former US Ambassadors
In their letter to Congress, the former Ambassadors urge the lawmakers to pass the new TPA bill and push for a quick and successful completion of TTIP. The Ambassadors argue that TTIP would be a boon for the already strong transatlantic trade relationship, while also reinforcing strong labor, environmental. and consumer protections on both sides of the Atlantic. In addition, they note that TTIP would give the EU and the US an opportunity to shape the global trade rules of the future and bolster Western values in a changing world.
View the letter in its entirety here.
US Chief TTIP Negotiator Dan Mullaney with EU Chief Negotiator Ignacio Garcia Bercero
Speeches & Official Announcements
Remarks By the President at the Organizing for Action Summit"So if America does not write the rules for trade that are good for us, if we're not writing the rules of trade for the global economy while our economy is still in a position of global strength - because we're right now the fastest - we're the strongest economy compared to a lot of our competitors - now is the time for us to write the rules that make sure that we aren't locked out of markets, that we're able to sell our goods in places like Asia." - President Barack Obama
Last Thursday, President Obama made a speech at the Organizing for Action Summit highlighting the importance of the trade agreements currently under negotiation. While noting that trade has always been a tough sell, especially for the Democratic Party, Obama also emphasized the importance of "winning the future" and writing the rules so that American workers and businesses can compete fairly. TPP, the highest-standard and most progressive trade agreement in our history, would strengthen America's hand overseas and give the US the tools to open up other markets to American goods and services. (White House)
Video of the event
Chart of the Week: How TPP Improves on NAFTAThe White House published a chart noting various areas and opportunities TPP would secure which past deals such as NAFTA did not. These include various measures concerning worker protection, such as minimum wage requirement and trade sanctions for violating labor rights, environmental preservation, and progressive priorities such as protecting consumers from fraud and deception and helping to simplify export rules for small businesses. (White House)
European Commission: TTIP Round 9 - Final Day Press Conference"This week we have also stepped up our work in the rules area. We consider that an important element of TTIP should be the development of rules, not only to govern our bilateral trade relationship, but also to contribute to global rules and standards in areas such as competition, energy and raw materials or sustainable development, to name a few." - EU Chief Negotiator Ignacio Garcia Bercero
The Chief Negotiator for the European Union, Ignacio Garcia Bercero, outlined the main areas of progress throughout the most recent week of the ongoing TTIP negotiations. In the area of regulatory cooperation and rules, the negotiators worked on issues of horizontal cooperation like technical barriers to trade. In addition, they discussed regulations pertaining to specific sectors such as cars, pharmaceuticals, and chemicals. Bercero stressed that horizontal cooperation would only happen in areas where regulators consider cooperation to offer efficiency gains compared to the current regulatory regime. He added that regulatory cooperation as a result of TTIP would not violate the regulatory sovereignty of the EU. (European Commission)
Opening Remarks by US and EU Chief Negotiators for the TTIP Round Nine Press Conference"We have in T-TIP the best opportunity in a generation to build upon the U.S.-EU economic relationship. We already trade extensively and invest heavily in each other's economy. But we can make it easier. We can make sure that small business owners in Illinois and Italy can reach across the Atlantic to find new customers and to sell more." - US TTIP Chief Negotiator Dan Mullaney
Chief Negotiator Mullaney reiterated last month's joint statement by Ambassador Froman and EU Trade Commissioner Malmstr öm that TTIP will not limit the ability of governments to regulate public services such as water, education, and health. Moreover, Mullaney described some of the progress made in this round of negotiations. For instance, he cited discussions on red-tape cutting regulations that would allow European and US exporting firms to test their products only in their home countries before shipping them abroad. As of now products shipped to the US or Europe are tested again upon arrival. (USTR)
Secretary of State John Kerry at the Atlantic Council
Speeches & Official Announcements
Trade and National Security: Renewing US Leadership Through Economic Strength
"2015 is simply not the time for us to decide that trade negotiations are too hard, or somehow vacate the field and let seventy years of lessons from the Great Depression and World War II get tossed aside. It's not the time for us to sit back and allow the principles of free and open trade to be supplanted by the barren twins of protectionism and mercantilism." - Secretary of State John Kerry
Secretary of State John Kerry spoke today at the Atlantic Council to underline the importance of TPA, TTIP, and TPP. Not only are these trade agreements key to promoting American jobs and businesses, but they also allow the United States and its partners to write the rules of international trade. Since the US market is one of the most open in the world, with high environmental and labor standards, there is nothing to lose by reaching deals that lower barriers elsewhere. Moreover, Secretary Kerry notes that in light of the current geopolitical climate, it would be unwise for the US to build a wall around its economy. Instead, the US should build "alliances and partnerships and understanding and rules of the road by which we can all act with certainty." TTIP could serve as a strategic pillar of the Trans-Atlantic community, and would underscore the democratic solidarity that has united both sides of the Atlantic. (Atlantic Council)
Video of the event
Working Together for the Right Kind of TTIP
"The US and the EU share the values on which we want future trade rules to be based. We believe in high standards of regulation, in human rights, in WTO-based trade rules and in open markets. By striking an alliance with the US around exactly these questions we are both strengthening of our voices in the world." - Cecilia Malmström
European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström participated for the first time at a plenary session of the European Economic and Social Committee since becoming EU Commissioner, speaking about the benefits of TTIP, particularly for SMEs. She noted that a well-negotiated TTIP would create economic opportunities, make government more effective, and position Europe correctly for the 21st century. The goal, Ms. Malmström concluded, is to find solutions that maximize benefits while addressing doubts. (European Commission)
USTR Expresses Concern over EU Proposal to Allow Member States to Ban the Use of GE Food and Feed Deemed Safe by EU
"We are very disappointed by today's announcement of a regulatory proposal that appears hard to reconcile with the EU's international obligations." - United States Representative Michael Froman
Michael Froman expressed his disappointment for the new proposal by the European Commission to amend legislation on its genetically-engineered food and feed approval process. This would allow the EU countries to "opt-out" of imports of GE food and feed. Moreover, Froman notes that dividing the EU into 28 separate markets is counterproductive to the EU's goal of deepening the internal market. (USTR)
Speeches & Official Announcements
Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015"TPP and T-TIP are critical to American economic security, supporting higher paying jobs here at home while leveling the playing field for US businesses abroad. TPP and T-TIP are vital to our national interests by cementing our ties to strategically vital regions and raising standards that are essential to American ideals and ingenuity, including strong environmental protections, high labor standards, a free and open internet, protection of intellectual property rights, and transparency." - Secretary of State John Kerry
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, Ranking Member Ron Wyden and House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan introdued bipartisan, bicameral Trade Promotion Authority legislation last week that establishes concrete rules for international trade negotiations to help the US deliver strong, high-standard trade agreements. Any administration, Republic or Democratic, must follow the outlined negotiating objectives when entering into and conducting trade talks with foreign countries. Both US Trade Representative Michael Froman and Secretary of State John Kerry noted their support for bipartisan Congressional TPA in speeches to the Senate Finance Committee on Congressional Trade Priorities. (USTR)
Trade Promotion Authority - What It Means"One in five American jobs is tied to trade. That's 38 million jobs in total. And jobs that are tied to trade pay, on average, 18 percent more."
The House Ways and Means Committee published a bullet-point fact list of what trade promotion authority would mean for American workers, employers, and national security. Not only would it empower Congress and hold the administration accountable, but it also ensures that the United States gets better trade agreements. (House Ways and Means Committee)
Report: Small and Medium Sized Enterprises and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership" Small and medium-sized enterprises are the backbone of the European economy. These companies will channel the benefits of TTIP back to their local communities. That's why the EU and the US are working to deliver an ambitious agreement that meets their concerns. This reports helps us do that, by pointing out the concrete obstacles and problems that we have to solve. This is one of the issues to be discussed when our negotiators are meeting this week." - Cecilia Malmström, European Commissioner for Trade
Yesterday, the European Commission released a report highlighting the significant potential TTIP represents for small and medium sized enterprises. The report finds that SMEs are already big winners from transatlantic trade, but that European SMEs still see challenges when exporting to the US market. These obstacles, however, can be eased by a TTIP agreement that is both ambitious and comprehensive, and maintains high standards of regulatory protection. (European Commission)
For the full report, click here.
Check out the report that we wrote at the Atlantic Council last fall on TTIP and SMEs, with 8 transatlantic case study examples, here.
MEPs are debating several hundred proposed amendments to TTIP this week at the European Parliament in Brussels.
Speeches & Official Announcements
11.7 Million Reasons to Lead on Trade"Currently, around 300,000 small- and medium-sized businesses across the 50 states export to foreign destinations, supporting millions of American jobs. Impressive as they are, these figures only scratch the surface. With 95 percent of the world's customers living outside of US borders, there is enormous potential for our businesses - and small businesses in particular - to grow their exports, hire more American workers, and expand their bottom lines."
US Trade Representative Michael Froman and Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker note that 11.7 million American jobs were supported by exports in 2014, with small businesses comprising 98 percent of all American exporters. President Obama is committed to addressing barriers to international trade, and making it easier for SMEs to do business abroad. The next vital step is passing bipartisan trade promotion legislation would clarify and strengthen public and Congressional oversight by increasing transparency throughout the negotiating process. (The Hill)
EU-US Trade Deal: 14 EP Committees Have Their Say"The amendments we are looking at today show that there are four main areas in which MEPs are currently divided. These are data protection, which services could be opened up to US suppliers, environmental sustainability, and investor protection rules." - EP Trade Committee Chair and TTIP Rapporteur Bernd Lange
898 amendments to the European Parliament's report on TTIP were debated by the International Trade Committee on Monday, implying that much further work and political compromise would be needed to build a strong majority behind the final resolution. Today, the Environment Committee will vote on its opinion on TTIP and Thursday, the Legal Affairs Committee will vote on its opinion on ISDS. In total, 14 EP Committees will contribute with their opinions, with MEPs due to debate and vote on the EP's position before summer. (European Parliament)
For further analysis of the ongoing parliamentary debate on TTIP in Brussels, please see BBC and EUObserver.
Speeches & Official Announcements
US Trade Representative Announces New Obama Administration Accomplishments in Reducing Barriers to American Exports"As the 2015 National Trade Estimate Report reveals, the Obama Administration is working around the clock to fight unwarranted barriers to our exports around the world, and we've racked-up significant accomplishments in protecting the benefits that trade delivers for the American people." - Michael Froman
The National Trade Estimate Report, released by Michael Froman last week, presents a list of foreign obstacles affecting US exports as well as the USTR's efforts to reduce those obstacles in America's largest export markets, including 58 countries, the European Union, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. In the last year, changes both positive and negative, in barriers in US export markets have occurred in China, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Panama, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Turkey, and Ukraine. (USTR)
To read the full report, click here.
Carter Discusses US Rebalance to Asia-Pacific"In terms of our rebalance in the broadest sense, passing TPP is as important to me as another aircraft carrier. TPP would deepen our alliances and partnerships abroad and underscore our lasting commitment to the Asia-Pacific. And it would help us promote a global order that reflects both our interests and our values." - Ash Carter
During a speech at Arizona State University, Defense Secretary Ash Carter noted that the US needed to re-emphasize the importance of the Asia-Pacific region, both economically and militarily. He stressed how important it was to pass TPA, so that President Obama could ensure "America gets the best deal in a historic new trade agreement", and he also noted that since World War II, the US has consistently played a military role in the region, allowing nations like Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, and China to develop and thrive. (US Department of Defense)
Voice of America also had an interesting analysis of his speech.
Defense Secretary Ashton Carter makes remarks at the Global Chiefs of Mission Conference at the State Department in Washington, March 26, 2015. He used the occasion to underline the importance of global trade to international peace, prosperity, and US global leadership.
Speeches & Official Announcements
Secretary of Defense: Trade Enhances US Security"By underwriting and accelerating economic growth, new trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership stand to help restore our nation's fiscal health and reverse dangerous defense cuts that are threatening our military readiness and technological edge." - Ashton Carter
The US Secretary of Defense, Ashton Carter, stressed the close connection between free trade agreements, such as TPP, and US geostrategic interests at the Global Chiefs of Mission Conference in Washington. Carter noted that more trade would empower US allies to invest more in their security forces. Consequently, US-led missions for disaster relief or counter-terrorism would be more effective. Moreover, the Secretary emphasized that the proposed trade agreements would create shared prosperity, which in turn would foster trust and stability among the partner countries. (US House Ways and Means Committee)
TTIP: Why Ireland Needs It"We already know that trade is fundamental to prosperity in Europe and in Ireland. 31 million jobs in Europe depend on exports. 500,000 of them are in this country. That's 14% of the whole labour force in Europe. And a quarter of the labour force here. " - Cecilia Malmström
Malmström made the case for TTIP in Ireland by pointing to the country's success within the European Single Market stemming from its export and import heavy industries and businesses. The Trade Commissioner also looked to the future to argue that the EU should partner with the United States to set the global rules of trade as long as both still form the world's largest market. In short, Malmström stated that TTIP would give a boost to the Irish and European economic recovery, it would enable governments to serve their citizens more efficiently, and it would set the EU's economy up for success in the 21st century. (European Commission)
Remarks by the President after Meeting with Local Elected Officials and Small Business Exporters on Trade"Ninety-five percent of the customers of the world are outside our borders, and we've got to make sure that we're able to sell to them. And when we do, our companies thrive. This is one of the reasons why I am pursuing the kind of trade authority that allows me, working with members of Congress, to pry open these markets and make sure there's a level playing field that's good for American businesses and American workers." - President Barack Obama
President Obama emphasized that his administration's trade agenda aims to help SMEs compete in the global marketplace. He explained that SMEs can benefit directly through increased exports, but they can also increase their economic opportunities as suppliers of global companies, which would of course also benefit from proposed trade agreements. Obama also stressed that any new trade deals would protect labor, environmental, and customer protections rather than diluting them.(USTR)
Speeches & Official Announcements
Secretary Kerry's Speech at the SelectUSA Investment Summit"The Trans-Pacific Partnership and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership are two of the three biggest free trade agreements ever contemplated. And together, they would be an unprecedented step towards a more integrated investment regime that would advance our shared prosperity agenda." - John Kerry
The US Secretary of State, John Kerry, stressed the great potential of TPP and TTIP, while acknowledging the flaws of some previous US free trade agreements. Kerry pointed out, however, that each trade deal has benefited American workers and companies. He noted that TPP and TTIP would bring about closer regional integration and foster stronger regulations and standards across the Pacific and the Atlantic. In addition to leveling the playing field for US companies, both agreements would also align the geostrategic objectives of the United States and its partners. (US Department of State)
The Commission's Future Trade Strategy"First, a new approach will need to work on strengthening people's trust in trade policy. In
particular we will need to look at how to deal with the issue of regulation. " - Cecilia Malmström
According to Malmström, trade builds prosperity in the world and advances European values. On TTIP, the Commissioner acknowledged that there are many reservations against the trade agreement in the European public, which have to addressed. However, Malmström added that "TTIP and other trade deals will protect the European way of life." In addition to regaining the public's support and trust for future free trade legislation through improved transparency, the Commissioner also talked about new ways of reconciling trade with labor, human rights, and environmental regulations. (European Commission)
Former Secretaries of Commerce Urge Congress to Pass Trade Promotion Authority"As former Secretaries of Commerce, we strongly support Trade Promotion Authority for President Obama. From our experience, it is critically important for American businesses to access new customer markets while staying competitive in the world economy. American companies grow and succeed in the global market place through high-quality high-standard trade agreements that help our firms gain access to new overseas markets.."
A bipartisan group of ten former Secretaries of Commerce strongly encouraged Congress to quickly pass Trade Promotion Authority without confusing the issue by insisting on currency manipulation provisions. Advancing the trade agenda will create more opportunities for American businesses to export their goods and create well-paying jobs in the United States. (Commerce.gov)
Remarks by the President at the SelectUSA Investment Summit"We're working together on a bipartisan Trade Promotion Authority and strong new trade deals from Asia to Europe that are not just free but are also fair and reciprocal -- trade deals that help businesses grow our exports and put American workers first ." - Barack Obama
As part of his speech at the SelectUSA Investment Summit, President Obama pushed for the conclusion of TPA with bipartisan support to be able to finalize TPP and TTIP. The President also voiced his support for the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, arguing that the bank is an important mechanism that helps businesses to compete in the global market place. (White House)
Trade as a Powerful Engine for Growth and Jobs in Europe"In the European Union 31 million jobs - over 14% of total employment - depend on exports to third countries and each additional ???1bn of exports supports 14,000 additional jobs across the EU." - Press Release European Commission
The European Commission touts the benefits of free trade agreements in general, and specifically points to the progress of its FTA with Korea. For instance, since 2011 EU exports of goods to Korea have increased by 35%. The success of this agreement is especially important because the EU-Korea trade deal is considered as an "ambitious" FTA that shares similarities with proposed trade agreements such as TTIP. (European Commission)
Speeches & Official Announcements
Malmström and Froman Discuss Way Forward with TTIP"We have made considerable progress today on how to move further in our negotiations in the field of services, and how to move towards new offers before the tenth round. Both sides have shown a good understanding of each other's sensitivities." - Cecilia Malmström
EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and US Trade Representative Michael Froman discussed current progress in TTIP negotiations as well as the agendas for the two upcoming negotiation rounds. They issued a joint statement discussing the important role of public services in the United States and the European Union. Malmström added that she was encouraged by the strong TTIP support shown by EU Heads of State and Government in the European Council. (Europa)
For the Joint Statement, please click here.
The Top 10 Myths About TTIP"Europe faces big challenges. These include kick-starting our economy. Adapting to the rise of emerging econo mies outside Europe. Or maintaining our influence in the world. TTIP could help. At home, it could generate jobs and growth, cut prices when we shop and offer us more choice. And it would boost our influence in the world - by helping us to attract more investment, set high standards in global trade, and protect our values." - Cecilia Malmström
The European Commission released a document highlighting the top ten myths about TTIP. By presenting each myth individually, the report presents the true facts as to what TTIP would really bring about in terms of standards, food safety, tariffs, government regulation, public services, cultural diversity, and many more topics. In fact, TTIP would uphold EU standards including food safety standards, while tightening up the existing system for settling disputes between foreign firms and governments. Moreover, TTIP will respect Europe's distinctive and diverse cultural industries while fostering sustainable development. (Europa)
Senator Hatch Shares Tax Reform Vision at AAFA Summit"Put simply, without TPA, our trading partners will not put their best offers on the table because they will have no guarantees that the agreement they sign will be the same one Congress considers." - Senator Hatch
Speaking before the American Apparel & Footwear Association's Executive Summit, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch addressed the nation's trade agenda and other issues. He noted that without trade promotion, TPP and TTIP - which cover more than sixty percent of global trade - will never be finalized. He reinforced the importance of TPA to the Senate Finance Committee and his commitment to effectiveness and bipartisanship in order to craft the best possible bill. (Apparel)
Trade and Investment Barriers Report 2015"Our strategic partners continue to maintain a variety of significant trade and investment barriers which are often difficult to tackle. In the current overall challenging context of economic uncertainty and considerable political tensions, there is a great risk that many of these barriers will persist and new barriers will be established, to the detriment of all."
The EU's Trade and Investment Barriers Report, presented last Thursday, notes that despite prospects of global recovery, trade and investment barriers persist. Many of the EU's strategic partners (Russia, China, India, Brazil, Argentina, and the United States) maintain a number of barriers that significantly hinder international trade and investment opportunities of EU companies. (European Commission)
Congressman Erik Paulsen Touts Benefits of Trade at Joint Economic Hearing"There is no doubt that we need to establish fair and strong rules that hold other nations accountable for their unfair trade practices. We need to tear down these barriers that block our goods from foreign markets." - Congressman Erik Paulsen
Congressman Erik Paulsen spoke last Thursday with Chairman Jason Furman of the Council of Economic Advisers on the Obama Administration's efforts to engage Congress on trade issues at the most recent hearing of the Joint Economic Committee. Paulsen noted that 95% of the world's consumers are located outside the United States. Speaking on behalf of small and medium enterprises in his constituency, Paulsen noted the necessity to pass trade promotion authority in order to get the best possible trade agreement for the United States. (YouTube)
2015 SelectUSA Investment Summit Off to a Roaring Start"Today there are 550 million people in the middle class in Asia. That number will be 2.7 billion in fifteen years. The ability for our companies to be able to sell into the fastest-growing middle class market in the world is really critical." - President Barack Obama
President Obama spoke to more than 1,200 investors and executives Monday, underlining his desire to boost FDI to strengthen his push for international trade partnerships and an overhaul of the US corporate tax system. The President also pledged progress with pending trade deals with Europe and Asia. The purpose of the summit is to make it "as simple and as attractive for you to set up shop here as possible," President Obama stated. (White House)
For a statement by Vinai Tummalapally, Executive Director of SelectUSA, please click here.
Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Kenny of Ireland After Bilateral Meeting"There are terrific opportunities for us to further collaborate in creating jobs both in the United States and in Ireland. One of those areas is the potential for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the United States and the European Union." - President Obama
President Obama and Irish Prime Minister Edna Kenny said Tuesday that advancing a US-Europe trade agreement is a top priority for each of their countries. The Taoiseach noted that he plans to raise TTIP during a meeting with European Council President Donald Tusk later this week, and that the next six months would be imperative in deciding if the deal can come to fruition before President Obama leaves office. (White House)
Discussion on Investment in TTIP at the Meeting of the International Trade Committee of the European Parliament"I believe the question about putting investment in TTIP is not whether we should do it, but how we can do it right? Can we design a new form of investment arbitration that keeps the benefits but avoids the negatives? I believe the answer is yes." - Cecilia Malmström
Commissioner Malmström spoke yesterday about investment protection in TTIP at the European Parliament's International Trade Committee. She noted that a full article in the agreement should make it clear that governments are free to pursue public policy objectives, and that they would be responsible for choosing the level of protection they deem appropriate. Second, the establishment of government-nominated list of trustworthy arbitrators would limit conflicts of interest. Finally, she also proposed the inclusion of an appeal body, with permanent members, directly within TTIP that would ensure consistency of interpretation and review decisions. (Europa)
For video, click here. For an analysis on her speech from Austria's Der Standard, click here. (In German)
House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee Hearing: National Security Benefits of Trade Agreements with Asia and Europe"TTIP and TPP could help push the world toward greater liberalization. Formal global trade negotiations in Doha are on hold but together TTIP and TPP represent ninety percent of the world's GDP. These pacts could help set the global standards." - Chairman Ted Poe
Last Tuesday, the House Foreign Affairs Committee held a hearing to discuss the strategic advantages of TPP and TTIP, noting that countering Europe's dependence on Russian energy would allow the EU to take a firmer stance towards Russia. Currently, the US has more natural gas than it needs, but current regulations make it difficult to export. The only exceptions are for companies exporting to countries with free trade agreements with the US. (House Committee on Foreign Affairs)