TTIP Action | January 29

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Speeches & Official Announcements

Ryan Opening Statement: Hearing on US Trade Policy Agenda

The fact is, if we don’t write the rules of the global economy, other countries will. They already are. Other countries, like China, are putting in place new trade agreements among themselves. So it’s a simple as this: If we’re not moving forward, we’re falling behind.”

The Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, Paul Ryan (R-WI) made a compelling case for expanding American trade with the help of the TPP and TTIP. Ryan cautioned, however, that Congress must first pass Trade Promotion Authority to assure our trade partners that the United States is negotiating in good faith. This in turn would enable the administration to push for concessions and negotiate the best deals possible. Moreover, Ryan argued that TPA would allow Congress to be a proactive force to shape the TPP and TTIP negotiations. (House Ways and Means Committee)

Hatch Statement at Finance Hearing on President Obama’s 2015 Trade Agenda

Let me be clear here: It would be a grave mistake for the administration to close TPP before Congress enacts TPA. Doing so may lead to doubt as to whether the US could have gotten a better agreement, ultimately eroding support for TPP and jeopardizing its prospects for passage in Congress.”

Tuesday’s Senate Finance Committee’s hearing on US trade policy covered a broad range of issues from agriculture market access to currency manipulation concerns. While Republican Senator Orrin Hatch praised Ambassador Froman and TPP, top Democrats Sander Levin and Ron Wyden argued that rather than pass TPA at this late stage of TPP negotiations, Congress should ensure that the administration comes back with a good deal and highlight the currency manipulation issue. While Ambassador Froman deferred to Treasury Secretary Lew on issues of currency manipulation, he stated that he felt confident in the progress of trade negotiations, with the time frame for completing TPP being “a small number of months.” He also argued in favor of TPA, which would give Congress a bigger stake in the discussions and their ability to steer the contents of agreements. (Senate Finance Committee)

Wyden Hearing Statement on the President’s Trade Policy Agenda

Trade agreements need to bulldoze barriers and open new markets to exports made by America’s middle class – the things we grow or raise, build, or forge. Done right, trade agreements can help grow the paychecks of middle-class families. That will help take our economic recovery from a walk to a sprint.

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), underscored the benefits of export-driven jobs for working class families. At the same time, Wyden urged the administration to ensure that future trade agreements will not hurt the middle class. Therefore, he demanded better enforcement of US trade laws and agreements to protect American workers from unfair trade strategies such as dumping pricing. Wyden also stressed that actionable behind-the-border enforcement measures, for issues like labor rights and environmental protections, must be an integral part of TPP and TTIP. Finally, he argued that the administration should improve the transparency of the negotiating process to enable the public to inform itself about what is at stake in the negotiations of the two trade deals. (Senate Finance Committee)

TTIP Spotlight on the Sensitive Issues at EP Public Hearing

On January 27, MEPs Pavel Svoboda and Bernd Lange chaired a hearing of the International Trade and Legal Affairs Committees discussing the main issues behind TTIP negotiations. The need for more transparency and clearer rules on mediation procedures for ISDS was underlined. Commission officials tried to assure MEPs that regulatory cooperation does not mean regulatory harmonization or the lowering of EU standards. (European Parliament)


Vince Cable proposes Reforms to Controversial Free-Trade Deal with US

British Business Secretary Vince Cable proposed new assurances of protection for the NHS and UK food standards to assuage public concern over TTIP. This suggests greater concern about public skepticism of TTIP than was previously expressed by the Conservative wing of the coalition government. Cable stated that all food imported from the US would continue to be required to meet EU food standards, and that ISDS fears should be addressed, specifically by pressing the EU to ensure private companies would be required in any disputes with governments to choose either domestic courts or an investment tribunal. (The Guardian)

US Trade Rep Tells Lawmakers Obama Needs Enhanced Trade Authority to Seal Important Pacts

US Trade Representative Michael Froman told Congress that President Obama needs TPA in order to cut important trade deals across the Atlantic and Pacific. Senator Hatch agreed, stating that President Obama needs the enhanced authority to complete TPP. Many Democrats and labor and environmental groups oppose such deals, and several anti-trade protesters interrupted Mr. Froman’s committee testimony on Tuesday.(Fox Business)

Trade Policy Just Became Less Boring, Thanks to a Block of Cheese

Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan waved around a piece of smoked Gouda during Tuesday’s Committee hearing on trade policy, emphasizing his concerns over non-tariff barriers keeping US dairy products, like Wisconsin cheese, off foreign shelves. Ryan was not the only Representative to use props: Congressman Sandy Levin lifted his car keys when defending the automotive industry. Although noted Green Bay Packer fan Ryan said he did not trust the Obama administration any more than he trusted the New England Patriots (after the recent scandal about deflated footballs), he stated that this did not mean he would not back TPA. (Washington Post)

Recent Analysis

Is Europe on Board with a New Trade Deal with the US?

Bruce Stokes, the Director of Global Economic Attitudes at the Pew Research Center, writes that recent surveys indicate “widespread support for a deeper transatlantic trade and investment relationship in most EU countries,” 58% of respondents overall are in support. Prominent exceptions are Germany and Luxembourg, where small pluralities are against the agreement, and Austria, where a majority of the population opposes the deal. By contrast, according to Pew, most Americans are in favor of expanding trade with the European Union. (Pew Research)

Please follow this link to view a map detailing the EU support for TTIP by country: (Pew Research)

S’Engager dans TTIP Pour Etre Acteur de la Mondialisation

Marie-Cécile Hénard-Damave, head of an agricultural platform SAF Agr’Idées, proposes to open a more complex debate on TTIP, moving beyond the oversimplifications which dominate in Europe. She reminds the audience that France’s agricultural trade balance is positive. Noting the diversity of the French agricultural sector, Hénard-Damave underlines that this economic strength is linked to societal values placing human know-how and territory at the heart of local, national, and international projects. Moreover, she argues TTIP offers France and Europe the chance to continue to play a forceful role in shaping the future of globalization. (Euractiv) – Original Article in French

Sisyphus Just Needs a Hand

General James Stavridis and Justin Muzinich note that Europe is at a pivotal and dangerous moment in its history, and the US must not let its fundamental strategic interest in a strong Europe be overshadowed by its highly publicized pivot to Asia. Not only is Europe a strategic ally for the US, but it also shares America’s most important values: democracy, human rights and a fundamental belief in freedom. Concluding TTIP would benefit both parties by boosting growth by billions of dollars and creating millions of jobs, and top US leadership must spend time nurturing close relationships with their European counterparts. (ForeignPolicy)

Zetsche, Other Top Auto Chiefs to Lobby for EU-US Trade Deal

Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche, VW boss Martin Winterkorn, and other captains of Germany’s automotive industry gathered in Berlin Wednesday to rally support for TTIP. While unions fear a power loss, the auto industry sees the potential savings amounting to a collective 1 billion euros in trade duties, just for German car makers.(Europe Autonews)

Europe Cannot Ignore GM and the Next Green Revolution

In an article for the Financial Times , Michael Skapinker criticizes the European Parliament’s decision to allow member countries to regulate genetically modified (GM) foods at the member-state level. He argues that this decision runs afoul of the notion of a single European market. Skapinker says the American Medical Association and the European Commission acknowledged that academic studies have found “no scientific evidence associating GMOs with higher risks for the environment or for food.” Nonetheless, European consumers continue to worry about potential health hazards stemming from GM food. To ensure that decisions about GM foods are based on science, Skapinker challenges policymakers, journalists, and scientists to restart the conversation about GM food as part of the trade talks between the United States and the European Union.(Financial Times)

Upcoming Events

Launch of ‘Local, Specific, Tangible – How a EU-US Trade and Investment Agreement Can Help Businesspeople and their Companies in the UK’ – January 30 in Brussels; hosted by the United Kingdom Permanent Representative to the EU, H.E. Ivan Rogers, and BritishAmerican Business – More Information

EU-US: From Disappointment to Hope with Gianni Pittella, MEP – 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

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