Remarks by Ambassador Michael Froman: “Dialogue on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership

“This is a natural moment to take stock of where we are, how far we’ve come, to step back and honestly assess the challenges that lie ahead.”

Yesterday, US Trade Representative Ambassador Michael Froman spoke at an event in Rome, stressing the importance of TTIP and how it would strengthen the economy and the transatlantic partnership broadly. He emphasized the connection between economic prosperity and security, and concluded that in today’s geopolitical and global economic uncertainty, “it’s critical that we press ahead and succeed with TTIP, that we build on the more than a half century of partnership and bring economic and strategic benefits to both sides of the Atlantic”. Ambassador Froman assured critics of TTIP that “we do not see TTIP as a mechanism for lowering protections or for deregulation,” but insisted that the transatlantic partners “have a duty to take our partnership to the next level.” (United States Trade Representative)

Speeches and Official Announcements 

International Trade: Informal Meeting of the EU Ministers in Rome on October 15
An informal meeting of the 28 EU foreign trade ministers, chaired by Carlo Calenda, vice-minister of Economic Development, took place yesterday in Rome. The priorities on their agenda were the latest in the TTIP negotiations, multilateral issues concerning the Doha round and WTO negotiations, European legislative proposals on trade defense instruments, and future EU trade priorities. (Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union)
Find Carlo Calenda’s take on the meeting and TTIP in particular here. – Original article in Italian


Renzi wishes to Conclude TTIP by the End of next Year
At the same TTIP event in Rome, Italian Prime Minister Renzi expressed his strong desire to conclude an ambitious TTIP agreement by the end of 2015, stressing that the relationship with the United States “culturally and economically is an absolute priority for Rome.” (Formiche) – Original article in Italian
The newspapers London South East and ANSA provide concise summaries of Matteo Renzi’s views on the need to revive the pace of TTIP negotiations.

Stoiber Moots Plan to exempt Micro-Businesses from EU Rules
Suggestions to help cut down regulatory compliance costs for micro and small businesses, proposed by a panel on better administration chaired by former Bavarian Minister Edmund Stoiber were published last Tuesday and are currently being considered by the European Commission. Stoiber has proposed the SMEs be exempted from many EU regulatory requirements to the extent politically feasible. (Financial Times)
Read the official memo of the High Level Group on Administrative Burden on the Stoiber group’s conclusions here.

European Policy Makers At Odds As Eurozone’s Economic Woes Deepen
Officials and economists are concerned about the feeble pace of Eurozone recovery and fear a new recession and long-term decline in the absence of appropriate, timely, and concerted action by several players. They suggest aggressive ECB actions, an increase in public borrowing and investment spending by Germany and the EU institutions, and deeper and more drastic economic reforms in France and Italy. (Wall Street Journal)

Poll proves Support of German Companies for TTIP
In a recent poll of 260 German companies by the Institute of the German Economy in Cologne has found that close to 75 percent of the respondents believed that TTIP would boost their exports. In that light, EU officials stress that the failure of TTIP is not an option, and continue to insist on the conclusion of a comprehensive agreement. (Finanzen) – Original article in German

Recent Analysis

TTIP – The Italian Presidency and the Outgoing Commissioner for Trade Karel De Gucht Call for the Finalization of the Agreement with the United States in 2015
This article by the European Forum of Luxembourg is an excellent summary and analysis of the informal meeting of European trade ministers and Ambassador Froman on October 14 -15 in Rome. While Italian Vice-Minister of Economic Development Carlo Calenda spoke out in favor of a pared-down interim agreement if negotiations were not concluded before the middle of 2015, both outgoing Commissioner for Trade Karel de Gucht on the European side and Ambassador Froman on the American side strongly opposed the idea of a partial agreement and insisted that a comprehensive agreement by the end of 2015 is possible. (European Forum of Luxembourg) – Original article in French

Harder Push for Trade Deals Needed to Spur Global Growth
This excellent Financial Times opinion piece by US Trade Representative Michael Froman, written at the start of the annual meetings of the IMF and the World Bank last week, talks about trade as a way out of the current economic malaise that Christine Lagarde has termed the “New Mediocre.” With the world economy at an inflection point, he insists that world leaders should focus on expanding trade as a key catalyst of global growth. In this light, he makes a strong case for the conclusion of TTIP and TPP, as increased trade will be beneficial for the negotiating partners as well as for developing countries, as “an ounce of trade can be worth a pound of aid.” (Financial Times)

Barroso: “TTIP will be good for SMEs”
Jennifer Baker, senior interviewer at ViEUws, sat down with outgoing President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso to reflect on the economic measures taken in the past five years and what actions have to be taken to boost EU innovation and competitiveness in the future. Throughout the interview, Barroso stresses the importance of TTIP for the European economy in general and SMEs in particular, and addresses the impact of Horizon 2020, the EU framework program for Research and Innovation. (ViEUws)

What should be in the SME TTIP Chapter?
In his opinion piece, Arnaldo Abruzzini, Secretary-General of Eurochambres, discusses what needs to be in the TTIP chapter on SMEs in order to facilitate SME trade and investment across the Atlantic. He sees great potential for SMEs in TTIP, if the agreement manages to address the current lack of targeted information for SMEs on how to access and operate within the US market. Obviously the same holds true for American companies trying to establish a foothold in Europe. The author suggests the creation of product-specific online platforms which clearly state how SMEs, who he sees as the main beneficiaries of TTIP, can gain from the agreement. (Euractiv)

Small Businesses Missing out on Export Potential, Survey finds
According to a recent survey of more than 8,000 SME owners from different sectors across seven European countries, undertaken by UPS, European SMEs fail to make full use of export opportunities, with a majority of respondents reporting that they are not likely to export in the near future. The risk of goods being lost or damaged, export regulations, procedures, cumbersome administrative requirements and costs were listed as the top barriers to exporting. The report finds that the majority of the respondents had little knowledge of TTIP, which could help remove most of the reported barriers and urges that “There is a real need to help SMEs on both sides of the Atlantic understand the benefits of the TTIP.” (The Guardian)

Ten Reasons why the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership must include Mechanical Engineering
This excellent position paper by the VDMA, a German engineering association, presents 10 reasons why TTIP should include provisions to support the mechanical engineering industry. The association wants to raise attention to the fact that transatlantic trade in machinery makes up a significant proportion of overall transatlantic trade and job growth. Moreover, the European mechanical engineering is a leading investor in the United States. Negotiators should, therefore, attach the same importance to mechanical engineering as, for example, the automotive industry. (VDMA)

Using TTIP to Lift Unnecessary Trade Burdens on Textiles and Clothing
In this Euractiv piece, Isabelle Weiler, the European Textile and Clothing Confederation’s trade and industry manager, explains the potential benefits of TTIP for the textile and clothing industry. The author is convinced that TTIP can keep high consumer safety, product and environmental standards, whilst at the same time removing cumbersome obstacles to trade. She concludes that the conclusion of TTIP would be a vital accelerator for the sector’s exports, as the EU is the world’s second largest exporter in both textiles and clothing. (Euractiv)

American Standards are as Protective as their European Counterparts
This Euractiv article discusses the findings of “The reality of Precaution. Comparing Risk Regulation in the United States and Europe,” written by two European and two American experts. The authors aim to address recent misperceptions, especially in Europe, that TTIP could lower product safety and health standards. According to the authors, neither the European side nor the American side can claim to be better regulated or better at preventing risks to health or consumer standards: they simply have different approaches to risks. Europeans endorse the precautionary principle and the United States preferring the risk management approach, yet both systems yield equivalent outcomes. (Euractiv) — Original Article in French
For more information, I would encourage you to read their report published this summer by Notre Europe.

TTIP and Cosmetics: a Fact-Check
This analysis by Marietje Schaake, a Dutch member of the European Parliament, addresses recent allegations that one of the United States’ main objectives in TTIP is to remove the European ban on testing cosmetic products on animals. She finds that while the rules in the United States and the European Union differ, the European Commission has repeatedly affirmed that EU standards and rules on consumer protection will not be lowered through TTIP. She concludes that even if Cosmetics were a US priority, the European Union will not change their position, and in any case the US knows the European Parliament’s (which will have to consent to the ultimate agreement) position on the issue. (Marietje Schaake)
Read more on the European official position on Cosmetics in TTIP here.

Upcoming Events

Canada, the United States, and Trade Reforms: Best Friends, Best Partners, Best Potential Competitors?– October 17 in Washington DC; hosted by Johns Hopkins SAIS and the Association for Canadian Studies in the United States – More Information

Global Implications of Data Flows between the US and EU – October 22 in Washington DC; hosted by the Brookings Institution – More Information

TTIP Town Hall – What does the Agreement Mean for Philadelphia? – October 22 in Philadelphia, PA; hosted by the Bertelsmann Foundation – More Information

Encouraging Transatlantic Startups – October 24 in London; hosted by The Global Innovation Forum and Level 39 – More Information

Manchester Policy Week – TTIP: Cash Bonanza or Risky Deal? – November 4 in Manchester, United Kingdom; hosted by the Politics department at The University of Manchester – More Information

Launch of new Atlantic Council Publication: TTIP – Big Benefits for Small Companies – November 14 in Washington – More information forthcoming.