This Trade Deal with America would have Churchill Beaming
This blunt opinion piece by London Mayor Boris Johnson in the Telegraph is excellently written and incredibly entertaining. Johnson describes TTIP as a “Churchillian project,” in that it fosters not only British- American but also transatlantic links. To him, objections to TTIP, as illustrated by recent demonstrations, are based on superstition and misinformation. Johnson insists that “this pact is a massive potential win for humanity–a closer economic union between two vast territories that share a tradition of democracy, free speech, and pluralism.” (Telegraph)
Read the Huffington Post UK’s take on Boris Johnson’s column here.
Who’s Who, Who’s New?
David O’Sullivan, incoming EU Ambassador to the United States
Currently chief operating officer at the European External Action Service, Irishman David O’Sullivan has been appointed future EU ambassador to the US earlier this year and will take office later this fall.
O’Sullivan has over 30 years of service at the European Commission with experience in a vast number of policy areas.
Although his main task will obviously be to promote and enhance transatlantic relations at large, experts think that his appointment shows that TTIP is the main priority for the EU in Washington over the next few years, as “the case for O’Sullivan is that he’s an expert who understands the nitty-gritty of trade negotiations.” Although O’Sullivan will not be directly negotiating, he will play a critical role in pushing the negotiations forward, not only because of his knowledge in many sectors but also because of his experience in two of the most-contentious issues–food standards and ISDS. When asked about TTIP earlier this year, O’Sullivan stated “The American negotiators are very tough, but we defend our interests and we try to strike a good deal… both the EU and the US will have to look at it in the round,” before ultimately approving a deal. (Irish Examiner)
If you want to read more about what the incoming Ambassador to the United States has to say about TTIP, I would recommend reading his excellent article in the Irish Times, where he makes a strong case for TTIP helping his native Ireland.
Speeches and Official Announcements
New List of TTIP Lead Negotiations
The European Commission published the new list of the lead negotiators for different areas for TTIP negotiations. Ignacio Garcia-Bercero and Hiddo Houben, Chief negotiator and Deputy Chief Negotiator, respectively, are in charge of overall coordination. (European Commission)
You can share your input with the EU negotiators by sending them an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
WTO Head Roberto Azevêdo urges Shake-up of Organization
At a meeting of the WTO last Thursday, the Brazilian head of the WTO Roberto Azevêdo warned that the organization had fallen into a “paralysis,” and called for its revival through a restructuring of its rules. A failed multilateral deal on customs facilitation brought down by India has furthered a discussion on how to legally incorporate plurilateral agreements between willing members into the WTO framework. (Financial Times)
EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht Warns ‘No TTIP Without ISDS’
In a meeting in Rome last week, outgoing European Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht warned that TTIP might fail entirely if the controversial ISDS clause is left out. Otherwise, neither side will be able to insist on including investor protection clauses in future agreements with other countries. De Gucht excluded the clause from the TTIP negotiations earlier this year as the EU conducted a public consultation. In contrast, incoming Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström did not dismiss the inclusion of ISDS in TTIP in her confirmation hearing last month. TTIP should be recognized as an opportunity to reform and modernize the ISDS model for the future, while also coordinating rules between several existing agreements between the US and EU member-states. (International Business Times)
US Trade Agenda Awaits Midterm Elections
If the Republicans win the November 4 US mid-term elections, it would be a political setback for President Obama and his Democratic Party. However, a win for the Republicans would also mean a more trade-friendly Congress, which could be decisive for the outstanding trans-Pacific and transatlantic trade deals. It would also make passing Trade Promotion Authority much easier, which could help finalize both TPP and TTIP before the 2016 presidential elections. (Financial Times)
Hearings Today: Maroš Šefčovič and Violeta Bulc
Due to the European Parliament’s rejection of Alenka Bratušek as the next vice-president for Energy Union, incoming Commission President Juncker had to reshuffle his proposed Commission. This development led to the nomination of Slovenian Violeta Bulc as the Commissioner for Transport, the portfolio initially assigned to Maroš Šefčovič, who is now nominated as the vice-president for Energy Union. Both nominees succeeded to convince MEPs in their hearings this morning, putting the final vote on the Commission as a whole back on track for tomorrow. (European Parliament)
For further analysis on the candidates’ hearings, there is an excellent analysis by Euractiv on Violeta Bulc’s hearing and an article by the Parliament Magazine on Maroš Šefčovič’s hearing.
Free Trade needs a Champion
This excellent opinion piece in the Chicago Tribune, calls on President Obama to make a stronger public commitment to free trade and to the completion of both TPP and TTIP. After setting the negotiation on TPP and TTIP into motion, Obama has so far failed to receive either “Trade Promotion Authority” or the support for the agreements of his Democratic Party. According to the author, Obama is missing out on an important opportunity to promote the trade agreements, which will both be vital for job growth in the United States, as well as the future of America’s global alliances. (Chicago Tribune)
The Benefits of TTIP Mean We Can’t Allow It to Be Sacrificed by Misinformation and Scare Stories
In his blog entry to the Huffington Post, Lord Livingston, UK minister of state for Trade and Investment, addresses the protests against TTIP that took place earlier this month in Britain. He makes clear that the protests are a reflection of a misinformed public dialogue, which has led to scaremongering and false allegations about how TTIP would affect issues such as national health standards and food safety. Instead, Lord Livingston appeals to the successful history of the US-UK relationship, and stresses the benefits of international trade and investment for the British economy, consumers, and small businesses. (Huffington Post)
The Hysterics surrounding TTIP are not Founded on Facts
In an interview in the German newspaper Berliner Morgenpost, Michael Grosse-Brömer, managing director of the trade union group Unionsfraktion makes a strong case for countering recent criticism of TTIP in Germany. To him, both CETA and TTIP are a great opportunity for an export-led country like Germany. Instead of dramatizing minor points of criticism, which seem to be a result of anti-American and anti-corporate sentiments, critics of the agreement should rather campaign for a fair and open discussion of the agreements on their merits. (Morgenpost) – Original Article in German
US-EU Free Trade Is Good for the Economy and for the Climate
In this interesting opinion piece, Carlo Stagnaro, senior fellow at the Istituto Bruno Leoni, counters the allegation that TTIP and free trade in general lead to increased carbon emissions. His article addresses the proposed energy chapter in TTIP, explaining how TTIP could not only reduce barriers in the energy sector, which are often distortionary and protectionist. He argues that TTIP should even lead to a reduction in emissions; as exported US natural gas will give both sides time and a cleaner option as they transition to sustainable energy sources. (Masterresource)
A Transatlantic Trade Deal will Generate Jobs and Boost Europe’s Feeble Economic Growth. It’s an Opportunity we can’t Afford to Miss
In his blog entry, John Higgins, director-general of Digital Europe, makes a strong case for the conclusion of TTIP, which would erase trade barriers originally set up to distort competition from abroad. TTIP will bring much needed impetus to economic growth, create jobs, and could promote innovative products and services with global benefits–an opportunity neither side of the Atlantic can afford to miss. He firmly believes that a balance can be found between opening up digital markets and safeguarding privacy standards on both sides of the Atlantic. (Digital Europe)
The Strategic Logic of Trade
This excellent piece by US Trade Representative Michael Froman elaborates on the strategic importance of trade. According to Froman, the geopolitical case for trade as a catalyst for growth and sustainable development has increased recently, given the rising level of US economic integration into global markets. Ambassador Froman strongly underlines the economic case for expanding free trade through TPP and TTIP, with the latter not only reinforcing trade relations, but also reinvigorating the transatlantic bond. Given rising global competition, “Washington must make a decision: either lead on global trade or be left on the sidelines. There really is no other choice.” (Foreign Affairs)
Global Implications of Data Flows between the US and EU – October 22 in Washington DC; hosted by the Brookings Institution – More Information
TPP and the Political Economy of US-Japan Trade Negotiations – October 22 in Washington DC; hosted by the Woodrow Wilson Center – 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
The ECB and the Future of Eurozone Bank Supervision – October 27 Conference Call; hosted by the Atlantic Council – More Information
TTIP Reloaded – Additional Insights & New Perspectives – October 29 in Rome; hosted by Fondazione Giacomo Brodolini and Bertelsmann Stiftung – More Information
The Geopolitics of TTIP: Repositioning the Transatlantic Relationship for a Changing World – October 31 in Washington DC; Hosted by the Center for Transatlantic Relations – More Information – Read the book online here
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
Outreach – Update on TTIP After the Seventh Negotiation Round – November 4 in Brussels; hosted by the European Commission – More Information
8th Annual Transatlantic Business Conference – The Transatlantic Marketplace: Challenges and Opportunities Beyond 2014 – November 12, hosted by AmCham Germany, the F.A.Z.-Institut, the Trans-Atlantic Business Council, and the Federation of German Industries e.V – More Information
Launch of new Atlantic Council Publication: TTIP – Big Benefits for Small Business – November 14 in Washington and live-streamed online – More Information