TTIP Action | January 20

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Speeches & Official Announcements

Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron of the UK in Joint Press Conference

We agreed that 2015 should be a pivotal year for an ambitious and comprehensive EU-US trade deal which could benefit the average household in Britain by 400 pounds a year. The UK is now the top destination for American and foreign investment […] and America is the UK’s biggest trade partner. […] We want to build on this.” – Prime Minister Cameron

Both President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron stated that with economies in both the US and UK growing and unemployment falling, their primary concern is to help create more jobs and sustainable economic demand in their countries. TTIP, they underlined, will boost demand in Europe and keep the transatlantic economies growing. They both noted the importance of “sticking to the course” and seeing through their economic plans. This, they stated, is the only sustainable way to create jobs, to raise living standards, and to secure a better future for hardworking people. (White House)

Commissioner Malmström Speech in Vienna: Three Reasons why TTIP is Good for Austria

So far the public debate, here in Austria and in many other countries, has focused on things that are not real issues, like GMOs, hormone beef and treatment for chickens. […] I firmly believe that we can have a civil discussion, grounded in fact and that this is the best way for us to serve the people of Austria.” – Cecilia Malmström

Trade Commissioner Malmström spoke in Vienna this afternoon about how TTIP would help boost the Austrian economy and help to secure Europe’s place in a changing world. By taking steps to make the negotiations more transparent, Malmström hopes that the real issues at stake can truly be addressed and fairly debated. She underlined the need to make the deal ambitious enough to deliver real economic gains, the best ways to strengthen public services through this agreement, and the opportunities for the EU and the US to set global standards together. (European Commission)

TPA: Empowering Congress to Set America’s Trade Agenda

Trade Promotion Authority empowers Congress to set America’s negotiating priorities. It directs the administration by giving it instructions for negotiating with other countries. Under TPA, Congress calls the shots.” – House Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan

Keeping in line with his opening statement, Chairman Ryan noted the importance of TPA in a speech last Thursday. He stated TPA’s role in establishing US negotiating objectives while keeping the Congress and the public fully informed during the trade negotiations process. By passing TPA, the US would make it clear that Congress and only Congress can approve trade agreements with other countries. (Committee on Ways and Means)


President, Republicans Aim to Forge Trade Deals

The improved US economic outlook might the help the White House to secure the passage of TPA in Congress. In turn, the Trans-Pacific Partnership could be finalized before the end of Obama’s second term. TPA is one of the few areas where the Republican controlled Congress and the White House see eye to eye. However, some Democrats, fearing job losses as a result of expanded trade, are said to be opposed to the deal. Yet the improving situation of the US economy might secure support from enough members of Congress to comfortably pass TPA. (The Wall Street Journal)

Brussels Launches Private Arbitration Reform in TTIP

The European Commission is putting the responsibility of ISDS reform on the 28 EU member states, organizing a debate in the next few weeks to bring together the various national opinions. Europeans hope to create a “new-generation ISDS” focused around an appeals mechanism, outlawing frivolous cases, the adoption of a strict code of conduct for arbitrators, and a way to make ISDS more accessible for small enterprises. (Le Monde) – Original Article in French

Heated TTIP Debate in the UK House of Commons

The proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership free trade deal pitted Conservative MPs who support the agreement, against several opposition MPs in a heated House of Commons debate in London. Opposition MPs worry that the trade deal favors businesses at the expense of the public interest. Labour MP Geraint Davies argued that EU member states’ mature judicial systems eliminate the need for the investor-state dispute settlement provisions in TTIP. (The Guardian)

Please follow this link for a blog with a comprehensive minute-by-minute account of the House of Commons debate: (The Guardian)

No Clear Majority Yet for US Trade Deal, Says EU Health Chief

The EU Health Commissioner, Vytenis Andriukaitis, warned in a recent interview with the German newspaper Tagesspiegel that support among EU member countries for TTIP is not guaranteed at this point. The Commissioner urged both the US and the EU to outline the benefits of the trade agreement in more detail. While German Chancellor Angela Merkel has pushed for speedy negotiations with the US, large parts of the European public remain critical. (Euractiv)

Recent Analysis

Interview with EU Trade Commissioner Malmström: “Tyrolean Bacon Will Remain Tyrolean Bacon”

Commissioner Malmstrom insists in an interview with Austria’s Der Kurier that a TTIP agreement will not result in the weakening of EU consumer protection and environmental standards. In addition, Malmström promised that US imports would not be allowed to use protected European geographical indications for their products. Furthermore, the Commissioner deems fears about the investor-state dispute settlement system (ISDS) within TTIP as exaggerated. Nonetheless, there will be consultations between the EU Commission, the EU Parliament, and the member states this summer to decide the fate of ISDS. She reiterated the need for greater transparency of the TTIP negotiations to garner public support for the trade deal. Finally, Malmström cautioned that failed TTIP negotiations, which might coincide with the signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), could undermine the EU’s future position in the world economy.(Der Kurier) – Original Interview in German

TTIP’s Enlargement and The Case of Turkey

Kemal Kirisci argues that the exclusion from Turkey from TTIP raises the risk of adverse economic, geostrategic and political impacts for Turkey and its allies. This report discusses Turkey’s concerns and options, as well as how Turkey could best proceed in either joining TTIP eventually or alleviating the potential damaging effects of TTIP exclusion. Resolving Turkey’s concerns would create a “win-win” situation both economically and geo-politically for all the parties involved, including those in Turkey’s increasingly fragile neighborhood. (Wilson Center)

Why Republicans Want to Give President Obama More Power

House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan is optimistic that Congress can pass TPA, which would give President Obama greater authority to negotiate and conclude trade agreements. He stated that there was possibility of finding common ground on these matters as long as the president engaged on this issue with his own party and made it a priority in tonight’s State of the Union address. (Time Magazine)

Entrepreneurial Spirit: Happy Socks and Angry Birds

We hope the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership provides a generational opportunity to support the growth of the transatlantic economy and open up new avenues for growth to European and American companies alike.” – David Drummond

David Drummond, Senior Vice President of Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer at Google, spoke at the Lisbon Council to highlight the fact that the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well on both sides of the Atlantic. By underlining that innovation grows steadily by taking advantage of the scale and support that only combined markets can provide, he also makes a compelling case for a European single digital market–which could eventually be expanded across the Atlantic. Drummond also underlines Google’s confidence in Europe’s economic potential and the company’s commitment to invest in the future of Europe. (Google Policy Europe)

Trading and Being Treated Fairly: Why European Industry Needs Investment Protection

A coalition of business organizations underlined for EurActiv how clauses similar to ISDS have existed for well over 30 years and have only ever been used as a last resort. Above all, they have never and cannot ever be used to overturn governments’ rightful ability to regulate. Citing Europe’s need for investment, they argue that their desire to bring about responsible European investment while creating and securing workers’ jobs in Europe is what motivates them to support TTIP, and the inclusion of ISDS. (EurActiv)

The Beginning of World Trade Disorganization?

Gordon Wong argues that the stagnation of the WTO is linked to the relative decline of US power. He states that the entire system of the WTO is underpinned by the American hegemon supplying political and economic capital; and that according to hegemonic stability theory, if the US is in relative decline, the trade system will naturally fragment. Calling for “a return to capitalism with a human face”, Wong posits that a softer regime for the WTO, presumably under US leadership, would enhance legitimacy and enable the trade body to sustain itself. (The Diplomat)

For a Fair, Transparent and Effective ISDS in TTIP

Diego Zuluaga Laguna, Deputy Director of EPICENTER, writes that TTIP stands to deliver enormous benefits to both US and EU economies at a time of low growth and high unemployment in many parts of Europe. He states the potential pitfalls surrounding the ISDS clause and calls on the Commission to proceed with caution and impartiality when designing the ISDS clause for TTIP. Simply paying heed to inaccurate claims by a handful of activist groups, many of whom seek to undermine TTIP itself, is not good enough. (EurActiv)

Passing The Court of Public Opinion

Passing the court of public opinion poses the stiffest test to international agreements like TTIP, Benjamin Fox writes. In reference to ACTA, NGOs realized that a well-organized media campaign and public protests could persuade MEPs to sink a treaty that few of them had read, and even fewer understood. Faced with charges of secrecy and inertia, the European Commission now has to pass the court of public opinion, which may be a higher barrier than many agreements worth passing, like TTIP, can clear. (EU Observer)

“My Chlorine Chicken Tastes Excellent” Interview with the German CEO of the Agco

Martin Richenhagen, German CEO of the US agricultural equipment manufacturer Agco, argues that TTIP offers the EU the chance to secure its position in the world economy. He contends that export-reliant nations like Germany, would fare extremely well if the agreement were passed. Richenhagen cites a study by the German Federal government to bolster his claim that European fear of US chlorine chicken is “irrational.” Moreover, he believes that labelling products as genetically modified or treated with chlorine would be the best solution within a US-EU trade deal. (Die Welt) – Original Article in German

TTIP Dispute Settlement Bodies Would Help European Businesses

The authors Günther Horvath and Eliane Fischer argue that a TTIP agreement without an investor-state dispute settlement system (ISDS) would hurt small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). By contrast, large multinational corporations, which can afford the legal fees to fight discriminations and expropriations via the judiciary system in foreign countries, would not suffer the same consequences from an omission of ISDS. Horvath and Fischer also repudiate criticisms that the ISDS process would not be transparent. They contend that the transparency of the process is guaranteed by rules of actions from the United Nations Commission on International Trade law. Finally, the authors warn that other countries, such as China and Russia, might very well refuse to include investor-state settlement bodies in future trade agreements, if the ISDS is not part of TTIP. (Der Standard) – Original Article in German

Upcoming Events

The Transatlantic Bond in an Age of Complexity with Federica Mogherini – January 20 in Washington, DC; hosted by the Brookings Institution – More Information

Conference Call with US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker to discuss the State of the Union and International Trade Policy – January 21; hosted by Business Forward – More Information

TTIP Town Hall: The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – Opportunities for Alabama – January 21 in Birmingham, AL; hosted by the Bertelsmann Foundation – More Information

Committee Hearing: Jobs and a Healthy Economy – January 22 in Washington, DC; hosted by the United States Senate Committee on Finance – More Information

Convergence and Divergence in Mega-Rational Trade and Investment Agreements – January 26 in Washington, DC; hosted by the Center for Transatlantic Relations – More Information

EU-US: From Disappointment to Hope with Gianni Pittella – January 30 in Washington DC; hosted by the Center for Transatlantic Relations – More Information

Towards a Transatlantic Strategy for Europe’s East – January 30 in Washington DC; hosted by the Atlantic Council – More Information

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

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