TTIP Action – June 9
Kicking of the G7 summit with a traditional family photo.

This Week in a Nutshell

The week kicked off with the G7 summit in Germany, where the world’s economic leaders discussed the global economy, trade, and progress towards an international deal on reducing the effects of climate change. At the summit, US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel promised to accelerate work on TTIP in order to complete an outline of the agreement by the end of 2015.
On the European side, however, the European Parliament has postponed a vote on the EU’s negotiating position on TTIP that was initially scheduled for Wednesday. Because of internal divisions on investor protection clauses, the Parliament’s president, Martin Schulz, decided Tuesday to send the text of the resolution back to INTA.
On the other side of the Atlantic, the House of Representatives is preparing for possible action on a Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill later this week, although disagreement between Republicans and Democrats over a funding provision for the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program remains a key obstacle that has yet to be resolved.

Speeches & Official Announcements

G-7 Leaders’ Declaration

“Trade and investment are key drivers of growth, jobs and sustainable development. Fostering global economic growth by reducing barriers to trade remains imperative and we reaffirm our commitment to keep markets open and fight all forms of protectionism.”
On Monday, following a two-day summit in Germany, the leaders of the G7 released a statement reaffirming their support for new bilateral and regional free trade agreements, such as TTIP. The G7 promised to accelerate work on all TTIP issues, with the goal of finalizing the outline of an agreement by the end of this year. (White House)

TTIP and the Czech Republic

“TTIP won’t lower EU standards through any future regulatory cooperation mechanisms. We will only cooperate with the Americans where we share the same objectives. Where we don’t, like on GMOs & hormones in beef, we will always be free to go our own way. We will always be able to regulate as we see fit.” – Cecilia Malmström
Last Friday, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström spoke at Charles University in Prague, touting the economic, regulatory, and strategic benefits of TTIP. She argued that opening markets through such an agreement will provide people with a wider choice of goods and services at lower prices, increase the competitiveness of companies by reducing production costs, and create jobs in export-led industries. Commissioner Malmström also stressed the need to update the global rules on trade in accordance with transatlantic values. (European Commission)

Merkel: Achieving Important Milestones

“When it comes to creating more jobs, Europe should not be last in line, but should do everything it can to move things forward. We can do it, and we want to have achieved important milestones by the end of the year.” – Angela Merkel
In an interview with German TV following a working session at the G7 summit earlier this week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that everyone was working hard on TTIP. She reminded viewers how much progress had already been made on the free trade agreement between Japan and the United States (TPP) and warned that Europe should not risk to be left behind. (Bundeskanzlerin)


Parliament Postpones EU-US Trade Vote

Earlier today, the European Parliament postponed a vote on the EU’s negotiating position on TTIP after the S&D and EPP failed to reach a compromise amendment on ISDS. Despite a fragile compromise in the EP’s International Trade Committee (INTA), talks between the two parties broke down. MEP Bernd Lange, Chairman of the International Trade Committee stated that he would continue to work on gathering support for his position. (Politico)

EU Wants to Complete Talks on TTIP Under Obama

At a press conference with Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka in Prague, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström indicated that TTIP should be completed under President Obama’s term of office, which ends in January 2017. Prime Minister Sobotka expects TTIP to benefit mainly small- and medium-sized domestic companies involved in car manufacturing, healthcare technology, and engineering. (Prague Post)
British Prime Minister David Cameron takes this position a step further, arguing that TTIP negotiations are moving too slowly. Read more here.

EU official: ‘Don’t Demonize TTIP’

Speaking at Green Week 2015 in Brussels, Karl Falkenberg, Director-General for Environment at the European Commission, asserted that TTIP will not jeopardize European health or food standards. Since US law is stronger than EU law in some areas, some standards in Europe might actually become higher thanks to TTIP. (Prague Post)

EU Courts Backs Commission on Restricting Public Access to Confidential Parts of Negotiation

Last week, the European Court of Justice ruled in favor of the European Commission’ s right to restrict access to sensitive parts of trade documents. In the case of TTIP negotiations, the decision means that publicly available documents will not include the most sensitive papers on what the commission considers to be “the essence of the confidential part of the negotiations,”, including the offers made by the EU to the US on tariffs, services, investment, and procurement. (EU Observer)

TTIP Action Partner

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Recent Analysis

The Case for TTIP

Edward Alden from Politico makes the case for TTIP, insisting that a properly negotiated TTIP has the chance to strengthen labor rights across the Atlantic, and to bring the United States and EU together in promoting stronger labor standards globally. In contrast, a negative vote from the EP on TTIP or the House on TPA might force the United States and the EU to each go their own way on trade rules, which would weaken their hand in negotiating with China and the developing countries, and allow multinational companies to continue playing the game of divide-and-conquer. (Politico)

The New Transatlantic Alliance for the 21st Century

The benefits of TTIP are crucial to the EU’s recovery from the economic crisis in 2007. As transatlantic markets work to harmonize trade regulations, struggling economies in areas such as Eastern Europe are expected to reap the most benefits. TTIP’s realization will also allow EU and US policy makers to set the bar for global trade negotiations, improving trade standards worldwide. (The Hill)

Debating on TTIP, Today and Tomorrow

Writing in the Spanish-language publication El Diario, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström emphasizes the importance of transparency and citizen input in TTIP negotiations. She asserts that the current system of investment protection is need of fundamental reform, and that TTIP is a crucial step in that process. (El Diario) – Original article in Spanish

Why Does ISDS Matter?

In an op-ed piece on EurActiv, Jonathan Peel-member of the EESC Employers’ Group-explains why investment protection is essential to business and how ISDS can be improved. He argues that foreign contractors need to be adequately protected against direct expropriation, discrimination on grounds of nationality, and unfair and unequal treatment relative to domestic investors. (Euractiv)
Also on EurActiv, Chairman Bernd Lange of the EP’s International Trade Committee clarifies the S&D position on TTIP in an exclusive Op-Ed. Click here to read more.

Trade in Action

On the Transpacific Partnership (TPP)

A Pragmatic Progressive’s Response to Hair-on-Fire Opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership
Blogger Randy Abraham, a former steel worker in the Midwest, dispels many of the misconceptions surrounding the TPP and explains how trade can spearhead economic and industrial revival across the United States. Abraham argues that phenomena other than trade agreements-such as disinvestment in American manufacturing and China’s accession to the WTO-are primarily responsible for sending US jobs overseas. (The People’s View)

On Trade Promotion Authority (TPA)

Obama and his GOP Allies Launch Big Effort to Win Trade Fight in the House
President Obama is making a final push to sure up support for Trade Promotion Authority, just days before the House is set to take up the bill. This effort has included direct calls to lawmakers, interviews with television stations in key states, and promises to Democrats who back his trade initiative to campaign for them against any primary challengers. (Washington Post)
For more on TPA’s chances in the House, click here.

Upcoming Events

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

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