TTIP Action | March 10

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Speeches & Official Announcements

Remarks by President Obama and European Council President Donald Tusk before Bilateral Meeting

“When it comes to TTIP […] we have strong arguments. Of course we need to advance the negotiations, for sure, and we have to convince our public opinion on both sides of the Atlantic. but we have strong arguments and I believe 2015 will push forward this process, because, in fact, TTIP is not only about trade but also about the chance of jobs. And also, it’s about political security for our population.” – President Donald Tusk

US President Obama welcomed Donald Tusk, European Council President, to the White House. In brief remarks ahead of their talks, Obama stated that Transatlantic unity is as strong as it has ever been, and singled out the US and Europe’s united stance on the economic sanctions that have been levied on Russia. Tusk noted that Russia was trying to divide the West, and highlighted their plan to discuss the status of a potential trade agreement between the US and Europe. (White House)

Investor-State Dispute Settlement Questions and Answers

“The reality is that ISDS does not and cannot require countries to change any law or regulation. […] Through TTIP, we can set a new, higher set of standards, stronger safeguards and better transparency provisions.”

Jeff Zients, Director of the National Economic Council, notes that the purpose of investment provisions is to provide American individuals and businesses who do business abroad with the same protections provided to domestic and foreign investors alike in the US. The arbitration rules used under TPP require the independence of arbitrators and provide for challenge and disqualification in the event of conflict of interest or bias. They also provide a central role for the government being sued to determine which arbitrators hear the case. (White House)

Merkel: Germany Backs TTIP Framework by End of 2015

German Chancellor Angela Merkel emphasized in Brussels that Germany remains committed to TTIP and that Germany would support the European Commission in achieving a political framework for the free-trade agreement in 2015. Chancellor Merkel met with European Commission President Junker and the European Commissioners. She stated that it is right to make haste in establishing the political objectives and framework agreement, while maintaining standards in Europe. (German Mission in the US)

See What the Most Progressive Trade Agreement in History Looks Like

“If we don’t write the rules of 21st century trade, China will – and in that scenario, American workers lose. It’s time to level the playing field and secure a trade deal that reflects the best of our values and ensures the strength of our economic future.”

TPP would be the most progressive trade deal the world has ever seen, according to a new White House fact sheet. Not only would it give stronger protection for workers and the environment, but it would also allow for stronger protections of a free and open Internet. If TPP is not passed, America will lose opportunities to create new high-paying jobs through expanded exports, fail to secure strong labor and environmental standards for trade in the world’s fastest-growing region, and would continue to be hamstrung in protecting American innovations abroad. (White House)

Trade in Services Agreement: ‘The Mandate Shows that our High Standards in Public Services will be Upheld’ – Says Malmström

“This agreement is important for all of us because the EU is the world’s largest exporter of services with tens of millions of jobs in the sector throughout Europe. We aim at making it easier for EU firms to export services which will contribute to growth and jobs here in the EU.”

Today, the Council of the EU published the negotiating directives for a plurilateral Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA). The European Commission concluded that the publication of the mandate does not undermine the EU’s negotiating position and does not harm its interests with regard to international relations. Malmström called for the publication of the mandate noting that the publication fits into the WTO framework for transparency and confirms the EU’s position to integrate TiSA into the WTO multilateral system. (Europa)

Click here for full mandate text.

EUROCHAMBRES’ View and Priorities for the Negotiations with the US for TTIP

“As SMEs are the backbone of the Transatlantic Economy, the TTIP should set the world-wide standard in terms of a 21st century SME-friendly trade agreement.”

During their visit last week at the Atlantic Council, representatives from EUROCHAMBRES noted their support for a deep and comprehensive TTIP with the US, with clear aim to strengthen multilateral trade rules. In their position paper, EUROCHAMBRES highlights the need and importance of having transparent, easily understandable, and clear rules and obligations for EU businesses. Enhanced transparency standards during the negotiations on both sides of the Atlantic should be upheld to reduce suspicion, build confidence, and increase acceptance – all of which are preconditions for concluding and implementing TTIP successfully. (EUROCHAMBRES)


Fate of Obama’s Trade Agenda May Rest on Oregon Senator

Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, the ranking Democrat on the Finance Committee, is in arduous negotiations with Republicans over Trade Promotion Authority legislation. Mr. Wyden, whose interest in trade stems from his own export-focused state, has found himself trying to thread a narrow needle with proposals that would placate Democrats who worry that any such deal would hasten the loss of US manufacturing jobs while assuring Republicans that he is not undermining the free flow of global commerce. (New York Times)

Launch of Progressive Coalition for American Jobs

Progressives and Democrats committed to leveling the playing field for American workers, creating jobs in the US, and building a stronger economy for all, launched the Progressive Coalition for American Jobs. They believe that America should lead the way to a more just and connected world, and that TPP is the first step in that direction. Their aim is to start conversation and to get more people involved, especially those not typically involved in trade issues politically. (Progressive Coalition for American Jobs)

European Official Not Ready to Stiffen Russia Sanctions

European Council President Donald Tusk stated that Europe is not yet ready to further tighten sanctions against Russia despite continuing provocations by President Putin. Europe’s acute security concerns make a proposed trade agreement with the US a strategic priority. It is essential that American and European negotiators reach an agreement on TTIP, Tusk also emphasized. (New York Times)

Recent Analysis

Majority in US Still See Opportunity in Foreign Trade

Gallup notes that a majority of Americans (58%) continue to view foreign trade as an opportunity for economic growth through increased US exports. This is the highest percentage in the poll’s history. Perceptions of foreign trade may partly relate to American’s confidence in the economy. As the economy has improved significantly in the past year, aided by lower oil prices and a stronger US dollar, it is likely that public fears about foreign trade have diminished. (Gallup)

On Trade, Time for US to Play Offense

Peter Robinson and former Rep. James Bacchus note that ongoing trade negotiations, with eleven Asia-Pacific nations and with the EU, are opportunities for America to strengthen its place in the global marketplace. Taken together, these trade pacts have the potential to expand US exports significantly and show America’s global leadership. To secure the promise of the 21st century, America needs to follow through on an ambitious trade agenda, and not be timid about it. TPA would enable the US to do that. (The Hill)

The Health of Nations: A Transatlantic Trade and Investment Agenda for Better Healthcare

ECIPE’s Fredrick Erixon, Martina Ferracane, and Erik van der Marel note that as European governments struggle to find resources to finance an increasing demand for healthcare, consideration of ways to enhance trade in healthcare goods and services is important for government. The key role of TTIP is to reduce the cost of key inputs to healthcare delivery that are already traded. (ECIPE)

A Trade Deal With a Bonus for National Security

Michèle Flournoy and Ely Ratner state that US failure to pass TPP would leave a political vaccum for China to fill. Deeper economic engagement in Asia would help strengthen America’s security ties, which are a unique and central feature of US global power. If the US does not commence this wave of reform in Asia, China would be more than happy to set laxer rules and lower standards for global trade. (Wall Street Journal)

A Deal Worth Getting Right

Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers states that TPP is very much in the US national interest, as it has the potential to tilt gains from trade toward the American middle class and would allow US producers to compete on a level playing field. TPP should be judged not against the hypothetical past in which US workers did not face foreign competition, but in the context of a world in which trade integration in Asia is already happening – with or without the US. (Washington Post)

TTIP: Time to Trade Up

Ryan Heath of the Disruptive Competition Project, notes that it is unhelpful to simply stand on the TTIP sidelines demanding more and more for negotiators. TTIP is about avoiding the US and EU economic suicide and promoting transatlantic geopolitical values, while establishing a ‘race to the top’ when it comes to standards. It is time to improve TTIP, not wreck it, with a new focus on strategic aims and the opportunities from regulatory cooperation and opening up the digital economy. (Project Disco)

This Week’s EconoGraphic: The Benefits of A Strong Dollar

There has never been a better time to be a tourist, as long as you’re paying in dollars. The US economy’s recovery paired with the ECB’s monetary easing has led to a rise in purchasing power of the dollar. In other parts of the world, weakness in commodity prices, especially oil, has hurt economies that are highly dependent on the sale of natural resources. While no one can say how long a strong dollar would last, now may be the time to start packing your bags for a trip abroad. (Atlantic Council)

Upcoming Events

How Technology is Reshaping the World Economy – March 10 in Washington, DC; hosted by the ITIF – More Information

A Fresh Start for TTIP: Strategies for Moving Forward with Commissioner Cecilia Malmström – March 12 in Brussels; hosted by Bruegel – More Information

Adelphi Launch: Power Shifts and New Blocs in the Global Trading System – March 12 in London; hosted by IISS – More Information

Maintaining Transatlantic Unity in a Complex World with Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, German Foreign Minister – March 12 in Washington, DC; hosted by CSIS – More Information

Atlantic Council Strategy Initiative Launch: America’s Role in the World – March 13 in Washington, DC; hosted by the Atlantic Council – More Information

AmCham EU, Annual Transatlantic Conference – March 19 in Brussels; hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce to the European Union – More Information

2015 Global Supply Chain Summit – May 12 in Washington DC; hosted by the US Chamber of Commerce – More Information

The Next Round of TTIP Negotiations will take place in Washington the week of April 20.