TTIP Action | February 3



Atlantic Council Launches EconoGraphics

Today, the Atlantic Council is launching a new weekly series called EconoGraphics–a weekly take on important issues pertaining to the global economy. A project of the Council’s Global Business and Economics Program, EconoGraphics aims to present complex economic and political ideas visually in a simple and intuitive fashion. Through this new medium, the Council will bring clarity to major global economic and policy developments so that they can quickly be better understood by experts and non-experts alike.

You can view our new blog and the first EconoGraphic issue here. Please also follow us on Twitter @ACEconoGraphics!

Eight Round of TTIP Negotiations Take Place in Brussels

Of course, this week is a pivotal one for the TTIP negotiations as the US delegation has traveled–in larger numbers than ever before–to Brussels to continue the conversations with the European Commission. Talks this week are expected to focus on market access and regulatory standard setting, and the US has brought a sizable contingent of regulatory agency staff this time around.

As this week’s round marks the first formal negotiating session since the heralded launch of the “fresh start” of the negotiations that Commissioner Malmström has called for, real and tangible progress is needed to keep up the momentum towards concluding an ambitious deal in the foreseeable future.

If you’re interested, the European Commission has set up a video feed with a live view into the negotiating room!

Speeches & Official Announcements

Unity in Challenging Times: Building on Transatlantic Resolve, Remarks by Victoria Nuland

We have to accelerate the investments we are making in our shared prosperity. That includes accelerating and deepening TTIP negotiations this year, being transparent with our publics about those talks, and fighting myths and fear-mongering with true stories of the barriers to trade that TTIP will break down – especially for small and medium business.” – Victoria Nuland

Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Victoria Nuland made a strong case that by embracing of pro-growth policies, capital investment, and TTIP, Europe and the US would take a shared path towards mutual prosperity. She also noted the importance of accelerating TTIP negotiations and being transparent with the public about these negotiations, in order to keep working on the “Transatlantic Renaissance” that sets the global gold standard for defense of international law, peace and security, free commerce, and universal human rights. (US Department of State)

Why TTIP is Good for Germany, by Cecilia Malsmtröm

TTIP will not solve all our problems. Far from it. But it will help us build a strong economy that provides jobs; help us provide public services and high quality regulation; help us protect Europe’s values in a changing and unpredictable world.” – Cecilia Malmström

In a speech to the German Lander Ministers for European Affairs, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström highlighted the various benefits TTIP would have on the German economy, regulatory system and values. She noted that TTIP will make Germany stronger, ready to face the challenges of a fast-changing and insecure world, and asked the Ministers to inform the Federal Government and the EU of the needs of the people in their state, and most importantly, to inform the people of what is at stake in this negotiation. (European Commission)

Remarks by Ambassador Michael Froman at the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture Winter Policy Conference

We’re focused on knocking down tariff and non-tariff barriers that have prevented American producers from competing in that market. Our goods exports to the EU have basically been flat for the last few years, and we need through TTIP to find a way to enter the market. As we’ve made clear, we’re not trying to force anyone to eat anything, but we do think decisions about what’s safe should be made by science, not by politics.” – US Trade Representative Michael Froman

Ambassador Froman addressed how ambitious trade agreements would exacerbate the ripple effects of a positive American agriculture. Making various parallels with Sunday’s Super Bowl, Froman asked The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture to remind farmers and ranchers in their states that trade agreements are a way of leveling the playing field for workers, farmers, and businesses and protect America’s competitiveness for the next generation. He also stated the importance exports were to more US jobs and encouraged farmers to speak up so that people across the country understand how important trade is to American farmers. (Office of the United States Trade Representative)


House Democrats Need to Be Convinced on Obama’s Trade Ambitions

President Obama spoke to Democratic lawmakers at a policy retreat in Philadelphia last week in an attempt to shore up support for trade promotion authority and the administration’s trade agenda. Obama argued that TPP and TTIP will level the playing field for American workers. Thus, the President stated that “he’s looking out for the best interest of the same Americans that lawmakers are concerned about.” (Bloomberg)

Syriza-Led Greek Parliament ‘Will Never Ratify TTIP’

The Greek Deputy Minister for Administrative Reform, Georgios Katrougkalos, from the leftist Syriza party stated that the newly elected Greek government would never pass TTIP in its current form. TTIP will require parliamentary ratification from all 28 European Union countries during the ratification process. (Euractiv)

EU, US Negotiators Mull Concrete Steps for TTIP

TTIP negotiations are entering a new round this week as representatives from the United States and the European Union meet in Brussels. The EU Commission decided to exclude ISDS clause from the negotiations for now. Palpable progress on tariffs and regulatory cooperation is at the top of the agenda for this week’s negotiations. (Euractiv)

Video: Brussels Briefing on Trade: All You Need to Know for February 2-16

The trade editor for EU Trade Insights presents an overview of the European Union’s most pressing trade issues. The video covers the 8th round of TTIP negotiations. These are the first negotiations that are conducted under the leadership of the new EU Commission. (ViEUws)

Tech Looks for Megaphone in Trade Negotiations

US tech industry leaders, such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter, are making a concerted effort to ensure that lawmakers understand the importance of digital trade for the US economy. These companies want greater coherence of copyright and intellectual property law in the United States and abroad. Moreover, the tech firms are underlining the fact that data flow restrictions between nations and new foreign laws that require firms to locate their servers within a country’s borders serve as modern barriers to trade. In turn, they are calling on lawmakers to ensure that future trade deals will ban these restrictions of the free flow of data. (The Hill)

Recent Analysis

TTIP is Good for SMEs

Carola Lemne, Director-General of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise, argues that TTIP is a great opportunity to decrease the obstacles to trade such as legal uncertainty, unequal requirements, double bureaucracy and tariffs. Noting the serious misconceptions present in much of the public debate on TTIP, Lemne noted that an ambitious agreement would in fact boost exports, provide consumers better and cheaper products, and offer better protection for investments in both Europe and the US. (Euractiv)

Local, Specific, Tangible: How a EU-US Trade and Investment Agreement Can Help Business People and their Companies in the UK

In a selection of 16 case studies, this report by the British American Business provides unique and tangible insight into what the UK-US economic relationship means to companies, what barriers they face when trading with the US, and the potential benefit they see in a trade agreement between the EU and the US. These case studies show how barriers to trade between the EU and the US, such as tariffs or different standards and regulations, can make it especially difficult for small companies to expand their businesses across the Atlantic. (British American Business)

For the full report, click here.

Stalled Global Growth Threatens US-EU Trade Talks, Analysis

Jax Jacobsen of the Eurasia Review argues that the “disappointing” global trade growth in the international economy predicted by the World Bank’s Global Economic Outlook could make it difficult for negotiations to secure TTIP, one of the biggest trade deals in history. The slowdown of the EU economy may lead EU countries to be less willing to open up their economies to additional competition from across the pond at the expense of domestic firm’s profits. A contrarian might note that slower growth would actually encourage both sides to embrace trade liberalization as a means to create sustainable economic growth. (Eurasia Review)

TTIP: A Once In A Generation Opportunity

Enrique Conterno, Senior Vice President of Eli Lilly & Co., and Jay Timmons, President & CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers, argue that a modest alignment of US and EU regulatory standards through TTIP could boost profits and save lives. Not only would TTIP eliminate delays in the development and the approval of new medicines, it would also promote and protect innovation while increasing the combined US and European GDP by an estimated $106 billion. (EurActiv)

How an EU-US Trade Deal Can Boost Europe’s Digital Economy

The Internet has reduced traditional barriers to trade and Europe is benefiting from it. However, in order to keep this momentum an agreement must be made on new trade disciplines for online goods, services and markets, as well as prevent new digital trade barriers from arising. TTIP should set up transatlantic standards to ensure data flows can improve access to information and knowledge globally. CCIA has developed five core practical recommendations to EU-US negotiators as they negotiate the next generation of trade policies. (CCIA Europe)

TTIP: An Accident Report

Hosuk Lee-Makiyama of the European Center for International Political Economy underlines various elements required to get TTIP back on course. First, the EU and the US need a common understanding as to whether they are negotiating a regular FTA or a new form of economic partnership that goes beyond any historical precedent. Second, the political leadership and mobilization of political support must be targeted, and it must be made clear who is willing to pay (political capital) for TTIP. Finally, the overarching objective of TTIP must be approached strategically. TTIP could be the third pillar of a new global economic governance together with TPP and EU-Asia agreements, bur it needs to be the most comprehensive of these three – not the weakest. (ECIPE)

Investment Protection in TTIP: Three Feasible Proposals

Jan Kleinheisterkamp and Lange Poulsen present three options for investment protection in TTIP for the Global Economic Governance Programme at Oxford University. In the first scenario, no greater rights would be offered, affording foreign investors the same high levels of protection as domestic investors, but not higher levels of protection. The second proposal, loosely based on the Australia-US model, would rely on domestic laws and courts while institutionalizing consultations about domestic investment regimes. The third proposal would set up an independent appeals mechanism with binding state interpretations, and a comprehensive state ‘filter’ of private claims to prevent frivolous suits. (The Global Economic Governance Programme)

The Perils of a Strong US Dollar

Edward Luce notes that the current US recovery is based on rising US consumer spending, which, when combined with slow growth elsewhere, has led to a very strong US dollar, slowing export growth. Since rising US consumer spending is driven by cheap borrowing costs rather than growing middle class earnings, it is vulnerable to a turn in the interest rate cycle. Most US competitors are cutting interest rates and watching their currencies fall against the dollar. While this is motivated by quantitative easing to revive growth, not to undercut the US, the effect is the same. (Financial Times)

Agriculture in America Relies On Trade

The US Business Coalition for TPP highlights agriculture’s critical place at the heart of US exports. In 2013, agriculture was responsible for $144 billion of exports while total goods and service exports accounted for 13 percent of US GDP. With agricultural productivity growing faster than domestic demands, export markets help stabilize prices and supply while supporting American jobs and revenues to US farmers. (TPP Coalition)

Upcoming Events

Stakeholders’ Event of the 8th Round TTIP Negotiations – February 4 in Brussels; hosted by the European Commission – More Information

TTIP Power Lunch: Power Players, Power Networking, Power Content – February 4 in Washington, DC; hosted by the Washington International Trade Association – More Information

The 2015 Trade Agenda and the Trans-Pacific Partnership with Congressman Dave Reichert and Under Secretary of Commerce Stefan Selig – February 5 in Washington DC; hosted by the Atlantic Council – More Information

The 2nd Annual EU-US Trade Conference: TTIP Where Now for the EU-US Trade Deal? with Commissioner Malmström – February 5 in Brussels; hosted by Forum Europe – More Information

Chairman Paul Ryan’s First Public Address on Trade – February 5 in Washington DC; hosted by the Washington International Trade Association – More Information

Conference and Debate on TTIP – February 5 in Grenoble, France; hosted by Mouvement Européens, France – More Information

Beyond Tariffs: Trade Relations and the Transatlantic Relationship in the 21st Century– February 6 in Washington, DC; hosted by Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service – More Information

The Intellectual Basis of Trade Policy Trench Warfare -February 11 in Washington, DC; hosted by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation – More Information

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

February 2-6, 2015 – Eighth Round of TTIP Negotiations in Brussels