Chair of the European Parliament’s Trade Committee, Bernd Lange, insists that the committee will use the additional time gained through the postponed vote on its recommendations to work towards reaching a stable majority for the TTIP-resolution.
This Week in a Nutshell
Whilst a vote on the final passage of the Trade Promotion Authority bill is scheduled for Friday in what is expected to be an extremely close contest within the House, the White House is working with House GOP leadership to solidify Democratic support.
On the other side of the Atlantic, the debate and vote on the Parliament’s recommendations on the ongoing TTIP negotiations were postponed because of the high number of amendments tabled. TTIP is now back on the agenda of the European Parliament’s International Trade Committee, which, during its meeting on June 15, has to decide if amendments and split vote requests should be put to a plenary vote.
Meanwhile, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström talks trade at two events in Brussels . At the Mercosur-European Union Ministerial Meeting, she focused on the importance of deepening and expanding the relationship between both blocs and talked about the state of play of the negotiations for an ambitious, comprehensive and balanced Association Agreement. At the annual Council meeting of the European Council on Foreign Relations, Commissioner Malmström made a strong case for trade as a foreign policy tool, stressing the need for Europe and America to work together. After all, the “P” in “TTI-P” stands for partnership.
Speeches & Official Announcements
An Integrated EU Trade and Foreign Policy
“Trade can help support security.Trade can support global development. And, most importantly, trade can help project European values on the global stage.” – Cecilia Malmström
At the annual meeting of the European Council on Foreign Relations on June 11, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström talked about how trade can play an important role in contributing to foreign policy. Pointing to the example of the European Union, which is itself the supreme example of how trade policy and foreign policy can be fused, she insisted that in a world where emerging economies increase their power and influence, Europe and America need to work together. TTIP, an agreement in which the “P” stands for “partnership”, will help achieve that goal. (European Commission)
European Parliament Vote and Debate on TTIP Recommendations Postponed: What’s Next?
“We will use the additional time we gained to work towards reaching a stable majority for the TTIP-resolution. The EP can only come forward with a strong message for the TTIP negotiators if our resolution is supported by a broad majority.” – Bernd Lange
Following the postponement of the debate and vote on the European Parliament’s recommendations on TTIP, EP President Martin Schulz decided to send the 116 amendments tabled in plenary back to the International Trade Committee (INTA) for further deliberation. INTA will take up these amendments during its next meeting on June 15-16. (European Parliament)
To watch an interesting press conference on the recommendations to the Commission with Bernd Lange, Chairman of the International Trade Committee, please click here.
TTIP: What Exactly is the ISDS Mechanism for Resolving Investor Disputes?
“According to the Commission’s proposed reform of investor protection, in case of a dispute investors would be free to select the mechanism they prefer. In order to avoid double compensation or contradictory rulings, investors would be obliged to choose one option at the outset and then stick to it.”
In a press release issued ahead of its plenary session on June 10, the European Parliament outlined four proposed mechanisms in TTIP for arbitrating disputes between foreign investors and states. The two main avenues are domestic courts and international private arbitration, but the European Commission recently proposed two additional options: a multilateral investment court and a bilateral appeal body with seven judges. (European Parliament)
Delayed TTIP Vote Drives Wedge between Grand Coalition
Following the European Parliament’s decision to postpone its vote on a non-binding resolution and debate on TTIP, MEPs have begun to criticize the grand coalition between the Parliament’s two largest parties, the center-right European People’s Party and the center-left Socialists & Democrats. Although leaders from both parties seem to agree on important issues such as ISDS, they face major dissent from within their own parties. MEPs in favor of TTIP insisted that accusing TTIP of certain wrongs when it has yet to be implemented was “a doctrinal position”. (EurActiv)
GOP Bullish on Trade Vote
House leaders are cautiously optimistic that they have enough votes to pass Trade Promotion Authority, and are aiming to put the bill up for a vote by Friday. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise has assembled a whip list of at least 22 Democratic supporters, with sources saying that between 25 and 30 Democratic votes are needed to pass the legislation. Among the sticking points yet to be resolved is an accompanying bill known as Trade Adjustment Assistance, which would help pay for aid to displaced workers. (Politico)
TTIP Action Partner
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America’s LGBT Ambassadors: Global Trade Will Lift Up LGBT Lives
In a letter published originally on Advocate.com, eight current and former US ambassadors and LGBT leaders explain how TPP and TTIP can export values of equality and tolerance to US trading partners. Through unprecedented labor and human rights protections, these agreements can help promote greater justice for LGBT persons around the world. Arguing that America’s interests and values are on the line, the signers of the letter support the White House’s trade agenda and hope that Congress passes Trade Promotion Authority without delay. (White House)
What TTIP Deal Does Europe Want?
Policy experts at the European Council on Foreign Relations believe that TTIP negotiations have taken a more realist turn, having dropped the high talk that characterized early negotiations for a clearer focus on eliminating tariffs and certain non-tariff barriers. Aside from the benefits of regulatory convergence, the EU wants a robust agreement in order to maintain a strategic link to the United States in today’s emerging mega-regional trade environment. (European Council on Foreign Relations)
For a video briefing on TTIP from The Guardian, click here.
Trade in Action
On Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
John Kerry & Ash Carter: Congress Needs to Help American Trade Grow
Writing in USA Today , Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Ash Carter underline the importance of passing Trade Promotion Authority by touting the benefits of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. TPA will allow the Obama administration to secure a rules-based trading system that deepens US security ties, promotes high-level labor and environmental standards, and fosters global growth and development. (USA Today)
In a recent opinion piece, US Congressman Kenny Marchant makes a strong case for TPA, refuting the most prominent public misperceptions of the legislation.
Standing Up for the Environment: Trade for a Greener World
A recent report by the United States Trade Representative and State Department explains how strong environmental protections in trade agreements such as the TPP can address major environmental threats like wildlife trafficking and illegal fishing. Once implemented, the TPP will help protect some of the most ecologically and economically significant regions of the world-from the deserts and plains of Australia to the Mekong River Delta of Vietnam. (USTR)
TTIP: Chances and Risks for Developing Countries – June 18, hosted by the German Development Institute – More Information
European Trade Policy Day – June 23 in Brussels, hosted by the European Commission – More Information
Roundtable on the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – June 25 in Brussels, hosted by the European Ombudsman – More Information
Meeting of the TTIP Partnership Advisory Group – June 30 in Brussels, hosted by the European Commission- Find the meeting agenda here
UK National Road Shows – June to December in the United Kingdom, hosted by the British American Business – More Information
EU Digital Single Market Conference – July 16 in Washington, hosted by the Trans-Atlantic Business Council – More Information