TTIP Action | March 17


Speeches & Official Announcements

Yes, Reagan Used Trade Promotion Authority

“Our commitment to free trade is undiminished. We will vigorously pursue our policy of promoting free and open markets in this country and around the world. We will insist that all nations face up to their responsibilities of preserving and enhancing free trade everywhere.” – President Reagan’s 1985 remarks calling for negotiating authority legislation.

The Committee on Ways and Means writes that every president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt has had some mechanism like TPA to help advance America’s trade agenda. While some have asserted that Reagan did not have or need TPA to expand trade, that is a myth. President Reagan had TPA for nearly the entirety of his presidency and used it to sign trade agreements with Israel and Canada and launch the Uruguay Round of negotiations, which created the World Trade Organization (Committee on Ways and Means)

TTIP On Track

“There are differences. If there weren’t there wouldn’t be a negotiation. And this certainly is a negotiation. Which means that it’s following the pattern of a negotiation. And that pattern is that you don’t solve everything at the beginning and you leave the hard things for the end. For any diligent student that’s a bit counter-intuitive. But we know it’s the way things work. And it makes our task very clear.” – Cecilia Malmström

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström gave opening remarks at a workshop in Brussels organised by Breugel, a think-tank. She gave an overview of where TTIP negotiations stand today and expressed optimism about their prospects. Malmström highlighted the challenges facing TTIP negotiations, namely that the two largest economies in the world were not used to making many compromises, while also pointing out that TTIP was worth the effort, economically and strategically. (Europa)

Speech: Open Markets and European Recovery

“Europe is good at many things, which is why we are the largest exporter in the world. Thirty million people in Europe are employed in making our exports of goods and services. Just under 900 thousand of them are in Sweden.” – Cecilia Malmström

The role of EU trade policy in the recovery of the European economy was the topic of the Annual General Meeting of the Swedish Committee of the International Chamber of Commerce in Stockholm, where Commissioner Malmström made a speech on Friday March 13. She argued that trade was central to Europe’s long term prosperity and than an up to date trade strategy was essential to deliver on its promise.(Europa)

Video: A Fresh Start For TTIP

“We need a good deal that we can defend to the Member States and European Parliament on our side, and for the Americans, to Congress. We have been working very hard to get the more technical issues to then identify the more political ones. We hope to achieve progress by the summer so that by fall we can tackle the difficult ones.” – Cecilia Malmström

Cecilia Malmström, Gary C Hufbauer of the Peterson Institute and André Sapir of Bruegel sat down with Bruegel to discuss what is achievable in TTIP negotiations by 2016. They restated the importance of political will, and noted that difficulties did exist in terms of agricultural tariffs and public procurement. Nevertheless, they pointed out many issues where a lot of progress can be made, notably in the regulatory sector, where TTIP negotiations have started to make a lot of progress on regulatory convergence. (Bruegel)


Canada Faces Tough Choices in Pacific Trade Talks

Canada is under increasing pressure from the US and others to start dismantling its so-called supply management system of milk quotas and import tariffs that try to ensure steady prices for farmers. Last month, the chairman of a US Congressional Committee responsible for trade said Canada had to open its markets to farm imports under TPP. The dairy lobby is powerful in Canada, and with elections due to be held in October, dismantling the current system could lead Harper to suffer in the polls. (Reuters)

Pacific Trade Deal Likely to Have Narrow Reach

TPP is likely to significantly benefit a handful of US sectors, including the pharmaceuticals, film and high-technology industries, while doing relatively little to change the trade balance in sectors like chemicals and machinery, economists say. While most business groups are eager to see a deal, critics ranging from labor unions to environmental groups question is merits, considering the divisive industry rules and inevitable job losses in some areas. It may take a long time to determine if a trade deal built largely around newer corporate rules of the road will pay off in the end. (Wall Street Journal)

EU to Step Up TTIP Communication Efforts

European leaders want to step up communication efforts around TTIP, whose EU-US trade talks have been marred by controversy. Meeting on March 19-20, EU leaders will discuss the state of play in the negotiations and will urge the European Commission to make a renewed effort to conclude them by the end of the year. Malmström argued for more and better communication and engagement with stakeholder during a speech last week. (EurActiv)

Recent Analysis

Bankers to Politicians: Regulate Us!

Christopher Cermak writes that an unusual coalition of European policymakers and Republican US senators, together with banks and business groups in the US, Britain, and continental Europe are all pushing for financial regulation to be made a part of the free-trade talks between the US and Europe. “A comprehensive TTIP would be in everyone’s best interest”, Peter Matheson states, “You certainly don’t maximize the benefits by excluding the lifeblood of the economy.” (Handelsblatt)

Economics Minister Gabriel: Five Reasons for TTIP

In an op-ed for Bild newspaper, German Economics Minister Sigmar Gabriel enumerated five reasons why TTIP is good for Germany and Europe. Not only would it give Europe one united voice and overcome trade barriers, but it would prevent secret negotiations and strengthen democracy. Free trade, even with Russia in the future, is necessary and would create new prosperity while helping prevent conflict. Germans and Europeans can approach a new partnership with the US, and hopefully also soon with Russia, with confidence, Minister Gabriel stated. (German Missions in the United States)

Why Obama’s Key Trade Deal with Asia Would Actually Be Good for American Workers

David Autor, David Dorn, and Gordon Hanson support TPP despite globalization concerns as it would promote trade in knowledge-intensive services in which US companies exert a comparative advantage and it would raise regulatory rules and standards for several of China’s key trading partners. This would pressure China to meet some of those standards and cease its attempts to game global trade to impede foreign multinational companies. (Washington Post)

This Is Why the Euro is Collapsing

Matt O’Brien notes that the euro has already fallen to a twelve-year low of $1.06 and should keep falling for at least another year. In fact, it shouldn’t be long until the dollar is worth more. To boost Europe’s weak economy, the ECB is engaging in quantitative easing, while the Federal Reserve is far enough along that it’s getting ready to raise rates. This means that interest rates are falling in Europe and, at least on the short end, rising in the US. (Washington Post)

A Call to Action: Five Proposals to Support The Emerging Maker Economy

After meeting with Ambassador Froman, Etsy sellers published their first policy paper which encourages policymakers to consider economic security for entrepreneurs, peer-to-peer trade in every market, and small-batch manufacturing in every community. Small businesses, including Etsy sellers, play a major role in international trade, accounting for nearly 98 percent of all exports. Current trade policy should be focused on unlocking the opportunity that exists in new markets around the world, where new customers are looking for the unique handmade goods Etsy sellers make. (Etsy)

The Digital Transformation of Europe

John Chambers, Chairman and CEO of Cisco, notes that Europe is on the cusp of an unprecedented technological transformation: the Internet of Everything, which will transform how citizens interact with their governments, revolutionize entire industries, and change the way people engage with one another. In Europe, the Internet of Everything is emerging as the single most promising way to revive a moribund economy and tackle the continent’s stubborn unemployment problem. As Europe charts its economic course for the next decade, its leaders must ensure that digital transformation forms the foundation of their strategy. (Project Syndicate)

Do Unions Have the Oomph to Stop Obama’s Trade Agenda?

Brian Mahoney and Doug Parlmer question whether the AFL-CIO’s bold announcement last week that it would withhold contributions to congressional Democrats in advance of votes on fast-track TPA will impede the Obama administration’s trade agenda, or merely become the latest illustration of unions’ declining clout. If AFL-CIO waits until TPA votes in the House and Senate, this could mean no cash for Democrats until June. If organized labor withholds cash until Congress votes on TPP, the AFL-CIO could end up sitting out most of this year, since TPP isn’t expected to come up for a vote until fall. (Politico)

Upcoming Events

INTA Meeting – March 18 and 19 in Brussels; hosted by the European Parliament – 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.