TTIP Action | February 12


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Speeches & Official Announcements

Made in America: What You Might Not Know About American Exports

In 2014 the United States exported more Made-in-America goods and services than ever before. US exports supported 11.3 million American jobs in 2013. And those jobs pay better wages than non-export related jobs.”

With 95% of the world’s potential consumers living outside its borders, American workers and businesses need every opportunity export their goods and services abroad in order for America to remain a globally competitive leader in the twenty-first century economy. When the playing field is level, American workers and businesses succeed. That is why the US needs to ensure that it is writing the rules and raising standards globally, including enforceable labor and environmental standards in partner countries. (The White House Blog)

Cutting Red Tape, Safeguarding Standards – Regulatory Cooperation in EU-US Trade Talks

With TTIP, we want to build bridges between EU and US regulators to make regulations more compatible – without lowering health, safety, environment, or consumer protection standards. Again – we will not in any way lower our high standards, but uphold them.” – Cecilia Malmström

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström sought to cut through the speculation and misunderstanding around TTIP and clarify what future EU-US regulatory cooperation would entail. Ms. Malmström underlined that this regulatory cooperation would work on technical areas where the EU and US regulations were already similar, such as car safety, engineering, and medical devices, while staying well away from areas where opinions diverge. Malmström noted that getting rid of unnecessary red tape is at the heart of what they want to achieve. (European Commission)

TTIP and Culture

Investment provisions in trade agreements are meant to protect, not expose, EU cultural industries. Promoting cultural diversity will remain a guiding principle for TTIP, just as it has been in other EU trade agreements.”

While the US has a strong interest in gaining access to markets for services related to films and television, the EU believes such services play a special part in culture and so should be treated differently to other services. Culture has usually enjoyed special treatment in trade talks. Since subsidies to culture are systematically excluded from trade agreements, national authorities remain free to promote and financially support domestic cultural activities. (European Commission)

Statement by Ambassador Michael Froman on the 2016 Budget Request for the Office of the US Trade Representative

The President’s budget reflects the importance the Administration places on strong trade enforcement, setting high labor and environment standards, and expanding trade and investment to support more good paying jobs.” – Ambassador Froman

The President’s fiscal year 2015 budget request included critical funding for key priorities such as strong enforcement of trade rules and expanded trade and investment. The $56 million request for the Office of the USTR supports the President’s broader vision for protecting American workers and creating new economic opportunities. Mr. Froman stated that “the budget puts more resources where we need them to hold other countries accountable when they don’t play by the rules and help us to export more Made-in-America goods and services” and underlined that he looked forward to working with Congress to add to the 11 million jobs already supported by exports. (Office of the United States Trade Representative)


In Ireland, the Anti-Austerity Alliance Dreams of Walking in Syriza and Podemos’ Footsteps

Ireland officially withdrew from the Troika’s assistance at the end of 2013 and the country is once more experiencing growth. Nevertheless, since September, protests against taxing drinking water have caused a national uproar, and promises made by Edna Kenny’s coalition to reduce the tax have not sufficed to calm public exasperation. Whether Sinn Fein or AAA, whoever wins the radical left in Ireland will closely follow the evolution of the Greek situation: whether or not Syriza is able to successfully obtain significant EU concessions. (Le Monde) – Original Article in French

Video: Brussels Briefing on Trade: All You Need to Know For February 2 – 16

Last week’s 8th round of TTIP negotiations was the first round to take place under the new Commission, and negotiators were extremely prepared. Preemptive meetings had been taking place not only between the two lead negotiators, Ignacio Garcia Bercero and Dan Mullaney, but also at a higher level between DG Trade’s Director General and the Deputy USTR. The main goal of last week’s round was to move forward on technical aspects of the agreement to prepare for the more political and sensitive aspects of the negotiations. These will only take place after the Obama Administration has secured TPA and formally concluded TPP. (EU Trade Insights)

Recent Analysis

Made in America Makes a Comeback

Penny Pritzker, the US Commerce Secretary and Michael Froman, the US Trade Representative, point out that American companies have exported a record number of goods and services for the fifth year in a row. Pritzker and Froman further make the case that new trade agreements, such as TPP, will further boost US exports by reducing tariff and non-tariff barriers and introducing forward-looking regulatory cooperation to eliminate needless red tape. In turn, TPP could grow US exports by more than $120 billion per year. (CNN)

The Best Thing Congress Can Do for American Workers

In an article for Politico, leaders from the US Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable, and other prominent business organizations urge Congress to quickly pass Trade Promotion Authority. They contend that TPA enables the United States to achieve the best results in trade negotiations because it signals that the United States is negotiating in good faith. They point to TPA’s track record to underscore that it has facilitated the signing of trade deals in the past. The authors argue that the potential of TPP, TTIP, and TISA to lower barriers of trade and open markets for American exporters should induce Congress to quickly pass TPA with bipartisan support. (Politico)

TTIP Negotiations: A Summary of Round 8

The 8th round of negotiations focused mostly on market access and regulatory cooperation. The negotiators also discussed provisions for SMEs, environmental and labor standards, and the digital economy. In the area of financial services, the EU side pushed for a chapter on financial-services regulatory cooperation. Other topics of discussion included the rules on geographic indications and the ISDS framework. In an attempt to improve the transparency of the talks, the EU Commission published 23 facts sheets and 8 negotiating texts before this round of negotiations. The next round is scheduled for April in Washington. (Bertelsmann Foundation)

Why Both Sides of the Aisle Are Fighting the US’s Best Hope for Growth

Jeremy Quittner writes that some Republicans fear that TPA would give President Obama too much authority in the trade negotiations and excessive control over economic policy. In turn, conservative lawmakers are alarmed that trade agreements that focus on regulatory coherence, such as TPP, might infringe on US sovereignty. Some Democrats, on the other hand, suspect that TPP and TTIP would ship American jobs overseas and weaken unions. Trade experts, however, argue that these two trade deals could further stimulate US economic growth and help the United States to catch up to countries, such as China and Germany, that “export 26 percent and 45 percent of their goods and services, respectively.” By contrast, US exports only account for 13.5 percent of its GDP. (Inc.)

Brussels, Washington Seen Seizing New Regulatory Powers Through TTIP

To streamline the negotiations about regulatory coherence within TTIP, the two negotiating parties want to set up a forum for transatlantic regulatory cooperation. Business groups favor such a process because they argue that improved regulatory coherence would increase trade, lower costs, and create jobs. However, many NGOs fear that closer regulatory coherence could weaken environmental and food standards in Europe. The European Commission has attempted to address these concerns by affirming that any transatlantic regulatory cooperation process would not restrict existing and future regulatory policymaking on either side. (EurActiv)

Why We Favor Ditching Investment Protection in TTIP

Sebastian Dullien of the European Council on Foreign Relations laid out his recommendation for a narrow TTIP that removes all tariffs and sets common standards in areas in which convergence can easily be achieved, while leaving out contentious issues. Specifically, he states that the European Commission should drop investor protection from the negotiations. In fact, he argues that if people are against transatlantic free trade, the best way to prevent significant liberalization is to insist on the inclusion of ISDS in a TTIP agreement as an absolutely requirement. (ECFR)

A Strategic Push For Trade

Hugo Grondel applauds the “meaningful progress” on TTIP that both President Obama and Chancellor Merkel called for during their meeting earlier this week at the White House. With the start of the new EU Commission and US trade agenda gaining steam after the midterm elections, both Cecilia Malmström and Michael Froman have called for a “fresh start” in the negotiations. Progress has been made in the 8th round of negotiations, especially in the area of transatlantic regulatory cooperation, particularly around issues of food safety and animal and plant health. (American Security Project)

Upcoming Events

2015 Congressional Trade Agenda – February 13 in Washington, DC; hosted by the Washington International Trade Association – More Information

TTIP – Facts, Fiction, and the Future with Commissioner Malmström – February 16 in London; hosted by the European Parliament Information Office in the UK – More Information

Food for Thought? Breakfast with EU Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner Phil Hogan – February 17 in Washington, DC; hosted by the Bertelsmann Foundation – More Information

Keeping Our Edge: Jobs, Exports, and Global Competitiveness – February 25 in Washington, DC; hosted by Bloomberg Government – More Information

European Financial Regulation and Transatlantic Collaboration with Commissioner Jonathan Hill – February 25 in Washington, DC; hosted by the Brookings Institute – More Information

TTIP – New Business Opportunities for SMEs – February 26 in Brussels; hosted by EuroChambres – More Information

The Next Round of TTIP Negotiations will take place in Washington in April.