TTIP Action aggregates the latest news and best analysis from across the United States and European Union on the ongoing negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
Speeches & Official Announcements
Brussels G7 Summit – June 4-5
This week, the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States gathered for the Brussels G7 Summit. The first evening focused predominantly on responding to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, affirming their support for the newly-elected Ukrainian government, and their readiness to intensify sanctions against Russia if necessary. The group also committed to presenting sustainable growth strategies at the upcoming G20 summit in Brisbane, Australia and continuing efforts to strengthen the multilateral trading system. Of course, the Summit was perhaps most noteworthy for its exclusion of Russia as punishment for its incursion into Ukraine and annexation of Crimea.
An overview of the Summit is available here.
The Summit communiqué can be read in its entirety here.
Obama Touts Need for European Energy Independence
President Obama’s speech on Tuesday in Poland included an important call for increased energy security and diversity of energy supply for Europe. Obama reiterated the need to use TTIP as a tool to achieve the objective of improving energy security on the continent. TTIP would make it easier for the US government to approve exports of natural gas to Europe, as FTA members have a more streamlined process for approving requests for LNG exports. (The Hill)
Paris Trade Talks Threat over US BNP Fine
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has made it clear that if US authorities go ahead with the alleged $10 billion fine set to be imposed on French bank BNP Paribas, it will have negative implications for ongoing TTIP negotiations. Without France on board, TTIP will struggle to make it out of the starting gate. Mr. Fabius has come out publically and emphatically stating that this fine is unreasonable and not proportional to the alleged crimes committed by BNP. (Financial Times)
France Steps In Over Fears Of US Fine Against Bank
The Washington Post cites the current investigation against BNP Paribas, France’s largest bank, as a worrying sign that the EU and the United States are not communicating well about financial regulatory oversight and reform. While the BNP scandal is unlikely to scupper TTIP negotiations, it does mean that the two sides need to improve their ongoing dialogue over financial regulation and sanctions policy. (Washington Post)
Berlin Prepares To Allow Fracking
German legislation to open the way for companies to begin fracking made significant progress this week. German economy minister Sigmar Gabriel wrote a letter to parliament saying that any applications for permission to frack for shale gas would be subject to approval from regional water authorities. This decision comes as the business community and certain German government officials have been advocating for a move away from energy dependence on Russia, and toward a more competitive German manufacturing industry that can rely on a dependable and cheaper energy source. (Financial Times)
The Corruption Cure: Transparency, Taxes, Trade
Writing in the Wall Street Journal British Prime Minister David Cameron makes an impassioned case for greater transparency about where companies keep their money around the world, better enforcement of tax payments around the globe, and for governments to use liberalized trade as a tool for growing their economies. (Wall Street Journal)
TTIP-Myths and Realities According to AmCham Austria
Austrian newspaper Friedl News highlights the myths and facts surrounding discussions on TTIP published by the American Chamber of Commerce in Austria. The article addresses many widespread misconceptions about TTIP, including: the level of transparency of the negotiations, whether only large corporations stand to benefit from TTIP, regulations concerning genetically modified foods, the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism, and debunks the idea that TTIP will lead to deregulation of health and safety standards in the EU or US. (Friedl News)
Trade Agenda Missing One Thing: Leadership From President
Congressman Charles Boustany, Jr. (R-LA), who sits on the House of Representatives’ Ways and Means Committee, argues for Washington-based newspaper The Hill that TTIP represents a catalyst that will help revitalize shared transatlantic security and prosperity. Boustany argues that Trade Promotion Authority is crucial for the United States to “put its full diplomatic weight” behind the conclusion of TTIP, as TPA will ensure Congressional priorities are taken into account as the negotiations move forward. Russia’s recently-signed contract to send large quantities of gas to China, gives further impetus to the need to forge an economic partnership like TTIP to ensure transatlantic energy and economic security. (The Hill)
Obama Must Use Europe Trip to Reinforce US Leadership
In an op-ed for The National Interest, Bernardo Pires de Lima and my Atlantic Council colleague Erik Brattberg argue that President Obama’s trip to Europe is a chance for him to salvage the lack of attention he gave to transatlantic relations in his West Point foreign policy speech. They argue that he should use this trip to forge a new strategy with Europe at its center, if he seeks to keep the “international liberal order alive.” Russian intrusions in Ukraine and the rise of anti-European parties in Europe highlight the importance of strengthening the transatlantic relationship. (National Interest)
Energy Revolution from East to West
Bruno Maçães, Portugal’s state secretary for European Affairs writes an opinion piece for EurActiv arguing for a greater transatlantic energy partnership that avoids confrontation with Russia, while at the same time reorienting the flow of energy from East to West to across the Atlantic. He said that there is a strong economic argument for this for both the United States and the EU. Europeans will have access to cheap American gas, and the United States will see a boost in its exploration and production that will help specialization of the techniques involved in fracking, due to the technological nature of the industry. There is a strong security argument as well for the United States and EU to move away from energy dependence on Russia. (EurActiv)
Is Seven Greater Than Eight?
Colleague Anthony Silberfeld of the Bertelsmann Foundation argues that the current exclusion of Russia from the G-8 summit may actually complicate and undermine the G7’s attempts to come up with a coherent strategy for the Ukrainian crisis. Rather than exclude Vladimir Putin from these talks, the other 7 nations need to think of more effective ways to deal with Russia–and ensure that cooperation is in Russia’s own self-interest. (Bertelsmann Foundation)
The Future of EU-US Relations – What Benefits will TTIP Bring? – June 10 in Miami, Florida; hosted by the European Union Delegation to the United States – More information
Wroclaw Global Forum – June 5-7 in Wroclaw, Poland (also webcast) – More information; EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht to speak on TTIP on Friday.
Prospects of The Future Transatlantic Economic Relationship – June 8-13 in Ottawa, Ontario and Washington – More information
Global Trade: A Trade System for the 21st Century – June 9-10 in London – More information
The Safe Harbor: Data Protection or Protectionism? – June 10 in Washington – More information
US-EU Legal Summit – June 16 in Brussels – More information; EU Chief Negotiator Ignacio Garcia-Bercero will keynote.
The State Of Euro-Atlanticism: A Transatlantic Talk With Ambassador Victoria Nuland – June 16 , Washington, DC – More information
TTIP One Year On: Consumers Mean Business – June 24, Washington, DC; hosted by the Trans-Atlantic Consumer Dialogue – More information
Round 6 of TTIP Negotiations – July (dates TBD) in Brussels