Welcome to TTIP Action, a new blog aggregating the latest news and best analysis from across the United States and European Union on the ongoing negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

With President Obama in Europe for the G8 summit in Northern Ireland and a state visit to Berlin, and the official start of TTIP talks at hand, today seemed like a fitting moment to begin our new blog.

A deepened and more integrated relationship between the world’s two largest economies—the US and EU—offers considerable potential benefits to consumers and companies alike. By removing remaining tariffs, clearing the way for additional investment and services, and streamlining regulatory policy, an ambitious and comprehensive TTIP would help lower prices and provide a powerful stimulus to the economies on both sides of the Atlantic. Additionally, hundreds of thousands of jobs, many of them highly skilled ones, would be created in value adding export sectors.
Importantly, a reinvigorated transatlantic economy would vastly improve the international competitiveness of both regions as together they could set combined standards for the world to aspire to in environmental policy, product safety, pharmaceuticals, and any number of other industries. Exporters hoping to sell goods in either market will have just one set of rules to comply with. A combined transatlantic market representing 50 percent of global GDP would be a powerful trend-setter indeed.

We sincerely hope you’ll find TTIP Action’s information and analysis timely, relevant, and insightful. Should you have any questions, tips, or events that you would like the blog to highlight, please do not hesitate to contact us at ttip@acus.org.

Speeches and Official Announcements

Official Launch of TTIP Negotiations Between the US and EU
On Monday, British Prime Minister David Cameron and President Barack Obama together with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and Council President Herman van Rompuy officially announced the launch of negotiations for a US-EU trade and investment agreement at the G-8 summit in Northern Ireland. President Obama said TTIP would be a priority for his administration but warned against downsizing ambitions and avoiding tough issues just to achieve a quick deal. Negotiators would receive strong mandates for the talks, yet he expected that political leaders would have to intervene at times to “break through some logjams”. President Barroso stressed that both sides intended to move forward quickly even if neither would “give up content for the sake of speed.”

Member-States Endorse EU-US Trade and Investment Negotiations
In a memo last Friday, the European Commission sets out the comprehensive TTIP negotiating mandate agreed to after a marathon session of the European Council designed to assuage French fears of the free trade agreement’s impact on that country’s cultural sector. 

Fact Sheet: Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership
The official White House fact sheet on TTIP sets out the many benefits at hand if the two sides can successfully negotiate a deal, including: eliminating all or most tariffs, securing increased market access for services and investment, significantly reduced compliance costs and regulatory barriers while maintaining high levels of public safety and environmental security.


EU-US Trade Talks Launched Amid French Fury With Brussels | Financial Times
US President Obama applauded the efforts of his European counterparts at the G8 summit in Ireland as talks were formally launched to create the largest free trade deal ever attempted. President Obama also asked the gathered EU leaders to “focus on the big picture” and not let small differences or nationalistic leanings derail a free trade agreement that would benefit them all. Those comments stood as a stark reminder of the remaining difficulties still ahead, embodied by the ongoing debate between France and the rest of the EU over their ‘cultural protectionism.’

Cameron Grabs a Trans-Atlantic Lifeline | Wall Street Journal
Many different national leaders from both sides of the Atlantic sought to take on the mantel of the nascent TTIP negotiations as a sign of good things to come and proof positive of their leadership and contributions to the effort. UK Prime Minister David Cameron may have outdid them all with his animated support for the free trade deal, using his G8 Presidency to ‘fire the starting gun’ on negotiations and capping off months of work political maneuvering.

EU, US Leaders Kick-Off Transatlantic Trade Talks | EurActiv 
After overcoming an initial dispute over France’s cultural exceptions, Brussels and Washington are now set to take their first steps towards establishing the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership before the European Commission’s mandate expires in 2014. It will be a historic achievement if successful, given the short timeframe and many stumbling blocks remaining in their way. Text in French

Transatlantic Market Economists | Frankfurter Allgemeine 
The United States, and in turn its leaders, are still considered by many in Europe to hold the blame for the financial crises that have rocked the Western world for the last several years. American excess and financial irresponsibility is blamed for the lingering economic downturn and unemployment across the European continent. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership may go a long way to dispelling some of that bad blood with its efforts to standardize financial regulations on both sides of the Atlantic. Text in German.

Trade Deal Would Benefit US More than EU, Ifo Study Finds | Financial Times
The United States has much to gain from a potential TTIP agreement, as do most European nations, and indeed the rest of the world. All would benefit, to varying degrees, from a comprehensive trade liberalization deal. In employment terms, the study found that an aggressive transatlantic deal would create over one million jobs in the US, 400,000 in the UK and 100,000 to 200,000 each in Germany, Italy, Spain and France. 

Full Study available here.

France Backs EU-US Trade Talks After Culture Clash | Reuters
A negotiating mandate was reached after laborious negotiations between the 27 EU trade ministers on Friday. France’s insistence that film, television, and music industries be excluded from the free trade agreement were ultimately agreed to, however, the language of the mandate does allow for the Commission to call on France and other nations for a broader mandate in the future that could include some of the audiovisual sector. These negotiations were concluded just in time for European national leaders to begin the G8 summit in Ireland on Monday with a unified platform as dealings with the US begin in earnest.

EU Chiefs See Trade Deal with US Fostering Growth | Bloomberg
Hounded at every step by a lingering debt-crisis and sustained unemployment, European leaders began the G8 summit in Ireland with a strong endorsement of the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Freed to consider TTIP’s future after striking a deal with France over the audiovisual industry, leaders like EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and UK Prime Minister David Cameron made forceful comments expressing their desire to see the free trade deal struck, and touted the shared economic benefits that this agreement could bring for all involved.

French Fear of US Trade Deal ‘Reactionary’, Barroso Says | France 24
In an unusually harsh critique of a member-state’s trade policy, European Commission President Barroso called out France’s desire to exclude trade in audiovisual services from TTIP negotiations as “reactionary” and lacking understanding of the benefits of globalization. His remarks are likely to increase tensions between President Hollande and the EU as a whole, as well as undermining any progress that may have been possible in raising French public opinion of the European project. 

G8 Meetings Will Test NSA Leak’s Effect on US Influence | Los Angeles Times
President Obama was expected to attend the G8 summit in Ireland from a place of strength and readily able to set the direction of the week-long talks. But the intense and ongoing publicity surrounding the revelation of widespread eavesdropping on US citizens and foreigners by the US National Security Administration may have severely undercut his standing. Though European leaders have come out in support of continued TTIP negotiations, the process may have been greatly complicated by the recent events, as existing differences in data collection and privacy standards between the US and EU seem only to have grown.

Hope For 100,000 New Jobs | N24
Expectations are high in Germany for the TTIP trade agreement to bring new opportunities to the German economy. With the formal announcement of negotiations between the EU and US, the German government expressed hope that the agreement would strengthen labor markets on both sides of the Atlantic. In light of estimates by the Federation of German Industry (BDI) that anticipate the creation of 100,000 new jobs in Germany with a completed TTIP, Vice Chancellor Philipp Roesler urged all parties to act decisively. “It is crucial that the negotiations with the US can start quickly,” said Roesler. While acknowledging that he had preferred a comprehensive approach in the EU negotiations mandate, he stressed that it is “central that we remove trade barriers in key areas of the transatlantic economic relationship”. Text in German

Recent Analysis

Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership: Who Benefits from a Free Trade Deal?
According to a new Bertelsmann Foundation study, the EU, US, and importantly, the rest of the world all benefit from a potential transatlantic agreement. Of course, certain countries have more to gain than others, namely the United States and United Kingdom. To be sure, however, all parties involved have much at stake as negotiations begin. 

Official G8 Infographic highlighting benefits of TTIP for the US, EU, and the rest of the world, available here.

Avoiding Regulatory Arbitrage in times of TTIP – Challenges for Supervision in International Finance
A new AICGS report highlights the challenges and opportunities of including financial services oversight in TTIP negotiations. Recognizing that international financial regulatory standards are necessary in a global economy, TTIP offers a unique chance to set rules and avoid regulatory arbitrage resulting from divergent rules and requirements. 

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership: Ambitious but Achievable
As leaders in the United States and Europe prepare for the formal launch of Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) talks, the Atlantic Council and the Bertelsmann Foundation conducted a survey of trade policy experts from the public and private sectors on both sides of the Atlantic to gauge their expectations for the results of negotiations.