What We’re Reading: February 12

TTIP Action aggregates 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).

Speeches & Official Announcements

President Obama and Francois Holland Joint News Conference – February 11, 2014
President Obama and President Hollande held a Joint News Conference at 12:00 p.m. EST today, discussing TTIP among a range of other issues in their opening statements and the Q&A. (Click here to see webcast)

Statement by United States Trade Representative Michael Froman on the “Made In Rural America” Export and Investment Initiative – February 7, 2014
US Trade Representative Michael Froman issued a statement Friday following President Obama’s announcement of the “Made in Rural America” export and investment initiative. (See full statement here) 


Hollande Visit Reflects Stronger US-French Ties Despite Spy Row
On Monday, President Francois Hollande met with President Obama with a laundry-list of discussion items including security, climate change and current TTIP negotiations. The French from the outset played an influential role in setting the agenda for the current TTIP negotiations. (Financial Times).

EU-Canada Free Trade Deal alleged to ‘open door to environmental lawsuits’
Referring to the leaked ‘investment chapter’ in the current Canada-EU Trade Agreement (CETA), opponents of the deal alleged that it could lead to a wave of lawsuits against European governments over environmental and health regulations under provisions for investor protection that are similar to those being negotiated in TTIP. (EurActiv)

EU Ready to Lift Duties on Most U.S. Goods for Trade Pact
The European Commission will reportedly announce its willingness to lower its tariffs on 96 per cent of goods imported from the US ahead of the stock-taking exercise between EU Commissioner for Trade Karel De Gucht and US Trade Representative Michael Froman on February 17-18. The remaining 4 per cent not covered are to include sensitive agricultural products and some commercial vehicles. (Thomson Reuters)

Recent Analysis

Trade: Pacts of Strife
Since Senator Harry Reid’s public statement against a fast-track bill last week, President Obama has worked to persuade Congressional democrats in private meetings to endorse his trade agenda. However, the private arm-twisting effort will have to be sustained, and the President will need to make more use of the public platfrom to convince the majority of the american public, if he is to salvage his trade agenda this year. (Financial Times)

Transatlantic Collaboration and Latin America: New Opportunities and Incentives?
This article highlights a shift in the current Brazilian administration’s stance on free trade away from its traditionally protectionist stance. It also analyzes the benefits of a stronger transatlantic engagement with South America’s largest, but also most isolated, trading block-Mercosur-of which Brazil is the most important player. The EU has been negotiating with Mercosur for fourteen years to date, and with the shift in the Brazilian administration’s trade policy there might be a break in the dead-lock. (GMF Blog)

Obama and Hollande: France and the U.S. Enjoy a Renewed Alliance
Presidents Barack Obama and Francois Hollande, in a joint opinion piece in the Washington Post yesterday, reiterated their commitment to TTIP, and the importance of securing a deal that would stimulate growth, create jobs and benefit small businesses in both the US and France. (Washington Post)

Nowhere To Go? Surveillance, Privacy Rules and Trade Talks 
A policy brief by the European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE) provides a useful discussion of the likelihood of including data privacy rules in TTIP negotiations, and the implications of the National Security Agency (NSA) scandal for the succesful conclusion of a TTIP agreement. (ECIPE)

How Germany Just Undercut the Euro
On Friday, the German Constitutional Court ruled that the large-scale bond-buying program of the European Central Bank (ECB) violates German law while referring the final decision on the legality what is widely considered the ECB’s most effective instrument in the Euro crisis to the European Court of Justice’s. (Bloomberg)

Upcoming Events

The Danger of Divergence: Transatlantic Financial Reform & the G20 Agenda in Brussels, Belgium – February 12.

The European-American Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Economic Update in New York, NY – February 12.

TTIP: an Opinion Leader Roundtable – What do the experts really think about the TTIP? in Paris, France – February 13.

The Danger of Divergence: Transatlantic Financial Reform & the G20 Agenda in London, UK – February 14.

Stock-Taking Exercise between EU Commissioner Karel de Gucht and USTR Michael Froman in Washington – February 17-18.

Public Address by Commissioner De Gucht on TTIP at the Atlantic Council in Washington – February 18.

The Transatlantic Trade And Investment Partnership Between The European Union And The United States: Implications For Western Hemisphere And World Regional Integration – February 28.

Round 4 of TTIP Negotiations in Brussels – March 10-14.