Speaking at an off-the-record Atlantic Council dinner in Washington recently, a senior former US diplomat noted that if the US and EU view TTIP as “just another trade agreement,” it won’t happen. As negotiators are just starting out, everyone is saying the right things, but some really tough issues are coming, and some serious political divisions are going to open up between the two sides. Success will require real engagement from the White House, Merkel, Cameron, and others to move us past these divides.

TTIP is important not only because of the size of the US and European economies, but because of the fast-changing global economic environment. The balance of power is shifting to the BRICS, and fast. Importantly, these are countries which often have vastly different viewpoints on democracy, the rule of law, and other areas. While, this shift in power is somewhat inevitable given the sheer size of China, India, and others, the US and Europe can and should do what they can to ensure their future economic competitiveness.

Boosting transatlantic trade and investment is an important tool to demonstrate our mutual commitment to free and fair trade, open markets, and the rule of law. We should not miss this historic opportunity.

Speeches and Official Announcements

Remarks by United States Trade Representative Michael Froman at the TTIP First Round Opening Plenary
On July 8th, USTR Michael Froman opened the inaugural round of TTIP negotiations and proclaimed this trade agreement has “the opportunity to complement one of the greatest alliances of all time with an equally compelling economic relationship.”

Update on the First Round of TTIP Negotiations
The European Commission issued a press release highlighting its participation in numerous stakholder meetings yesterday to speak directly with interested parties about the contents of the agreement. The meetings are part of a notable effort on behalf of the US and EU to ensure transparency and public input into the negotiating process. 


‘Feel-good session’ for EU-US trade talks | Financial Times
Despite the recent spy scandals, this week’s start of TTIP talks have rightly focused on the process and the ultimate end goal of broadly liberalized trade and investment. EU and US officials have rightly acknowledged the necessity of starting off on the right note, and are following through thus far.

The European Commission and the CFTC reach a Common Path Forward on Derivatives | Europa
The European Commission and the CFTC have coordinated regulatory policies on derivatives trading so that the same outcomes are reached on both sides of the Atlantic. This is a positive example of the increased collaboration between US-EU in financial regulation and a potential sign of things to come in TTIP negotiations on finanial services.

German Chancellor Requires Clarification By US Government | Südwest Presse
Chancellor Angela Merkel said in an interview that there needed to be talks “at various political levels” to ascertain the extent of NSA spying in Germany. At the same time, however, Chancellor Merkel recommitted her country to the established agenda for the negotiations, calling for TTIP free trade talks to continue as planned alongside important conversations on data privacy. Text in German.

Transatlantic Partnership: The Positions Brussels has Promised to Defend | Les Echos
The negotiating mandate given to the European Commission by the European Council was leaked to news sources, and calls for Brussels to defend France’s cultural exception, the protection of geographic indicators, and the exclusion of defense and healthcare markets from negotiations. The mandate also states that, “the agreement must be ambitious, comprehensive, balanced, and fully compatible with the rules and obligations of the WTO.” Text in French.

Recent Analysis

TTIP: A Ray of Hope for European Defense? | New Atlanticist
Given the potential GDP boosts on offer, a comprehensive and succesfully negotiated TTIP should increase military spending in Europe–even if its member-states simply maintain current levels of defense investment. That would be a significant boost to the NATO alliance and help ease the burden placed on the US Department of Defense to make up for the underinvestment of its European allies.

Mud Slinging Important? | Deutschland Radio
Dr. Jackson Janes, Atlantic Council member and president of the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies gave a detailed analysis of the continued fallout from the NSA spying scandal, suggesting what the US must do to repair the relationship, and discussing what role Germany must play to ensure that TTIP will be successful. Text in German

Getting to Yes on Transatlantic Trade | Foreign Affairs
Colleagues Tom Bollyky and Anu Bradford write that with US economic growth still sluggish and Eurozone unemployment reaching all-time highs, a transatlantic pact that could liberalize one-third of global trade and generate millions of new jobs is an opportunity neither side can afford to miss.

Welcome to the Geopolitics of Trade, where Dr. Pangloss meets Machiavelli | The Guardian
Timothy Garton Ash explores the geopolitics behind the historic start of transatlantic free trade talks. Noting that the complex web of trade agreements being discussed all exclude China, he emphasizes that TTIP and TPP combined could be a powerful incentive for China to modernize its regulatory approach and its trade policy as a whole. 

Blown Cover: The NSA and the Unraveling US-EU Intelligence Relationship | Bertelsmann Foundation
Tyson Barker investigates how the revelations of NSA surveillance could jeopardize TTIP negotiations. This paints a broader picture of the differing approaches of the EU and US to intelligence collection and data security, and how this issue will resonate with the voting public, particularly in Europe.