TTIP Action | March 3

Mike Conaway

Speeches & Official Announcements

Trade Pacts Will Strengthen Our National Security

“Trade agreements will strengthen our national security because they demonstrate our commitment, support US values, and rebuild our credibility”
The Committee on Ways and Means published an argument for why strengthening US trade ties would benefit national security and enhance American leadership. The more US cooperates with its allies, the less dependent these allies will be on US rivals. Moreover, trade agreements show other countries that the US is a trustworthy partner and encourage these countries to adopt American values of free enterprise in a free world. (Committee on Ways and Means)

Former Agriculture Secretaries Support Trade Promotion Authority

“Recognizing the importance of exports, we worked hard to open foreign markets, including negotiating new or expanded trade agreements with other countries. Trade agreements lead to expanded agricultural exports by promoting economic growth, removing trade barriers and import duties and developing mutually beneficial trade rules”
In an open letter to Congress, a bipartisan group of former US Agricultural Secretaries stated that expanding trade would help American farmers and ranchers thrive. They underlined the importance of TPA, which would ensure that the US has the credibility to conclude the best deal possible at the negotiating table and ensure common negotiating objectives between the President and the Congress, as well as a continuous consultation process prior to final Congressional approval or disapproval of a trade agreement. (Committee on Ways and Means)

Working Document by the European Parliament’s Committee on International Trade

“Given the recent positive developments in the WTO, we must ensure that an agreement with the US will serve as a stepping-stone for broader trade negotiations”
Rapporteur Bernd Lange assessed the main results of the negotiations after approximately one-and-a-half years of discussions and expresses the European Parliament’s views on the main issues of a potential TTIP agreement. He emphasized TTIP’s potential to become an instrument for sustainable growth and a stepping-stone for rules at the multilateral level, and addressed issues of transparency, market access, public procurement, and regulatory cooperation, as well as questions on agriculture, energy, and raw materials. (European Parliament)

More Trade Will Help American Farmers and Ranchers Thrive

“The bounty of American agriculture has the ability to spread peace, prosperity, and freedom throughout the world, and we all should work to make this a reality”

 – House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway

America’s farmers and ranchers will reap enormous benefits from expanding US trade. There is a growing demand for US agricultural products around the world, and the US’s ongoing trade negotiations present new opportunities for our exporters to tap new markets in the Asia-Pacific region and Europe. The US grows more agricultural products than can be sold domestically, and trade presents an opportunity to take advantage of this abundance. (Committee on Ways and Means)

Cecilia Malmström: Bringing Trade Up to Speed

“In today’s integrated world economy the set of ideas known as protectionism, or mercantilism or however you want to call them, are surely bankrupt. The vast majority of Europe’s imports are parts, components, raw materials, and energy. And our economy depends on our ability to access all of those things”
At a seminar organized by Sweden’s National Board of Trade and the Swedish Permanent Representation to the European Union last Tuesday, Malmström examined how European trade policy can support the competitiveness of European enterprises in a fast changing economy. Malmström noted the importance of taking into account input from all sides – governments, member states, national parliaments, and the European Parliament, as well as think tanks business, NGOs, trade unions, and consumers – on TTIP and trade policy more generally. (Europa)


France Makes U-Turn On TTIP Arbitration

In a letter to French MEPs, the French Secretariat General for European Affairs (SGAE) appears to have made a U-turn on the position so far defended by Mathias Fekl, the Secretary of State for Foreign Trade. While Fekl has repeatedly expressed his government’s opposition to ISDS, the SGAE is distancing itself from anti-ISDS Lange Report, currently under discussion in the EP’s International Trade Committee. (EurActiv)

Congress’s Critical Role on Trade

Congress has a responsibility to give the American negotiators, in advance of any agreement, clear instructions on what it would like to see in the agreement. The vehicle for doing so is a bill that could be introduced this week, which would commit lawmakers to an up-or-down vote without amendment on the final deal if it meets the criteria established in the legislation. This is designed to give other countries assurance that Congress will not amend an agreement after it has been negotiated. (New York Times)

Recent Analysis

The Obama Trade Agenda: Five Things for Progressives to Like

Ed Gerwin notes that progressives should support TPA and the Obama Administration’s trade agenda, as they tap into economic growth, democratize trade and lead the way towards fairer trade. Progressive-leaning Americans are more supportive of trade agreements than critics often suggest. Gerwin suggests taking a fresh and serious look at how new trade policies and initiatives can help advance build a fairer global economy and a more prosperous America. (Progressive Policy Institute)

Is ISDS Revamping the Geopolitical Dimension of TTIP?

Elvire Fabry, a Senior Research Fellow at the Jacques Delors Institute, points out that both French and German government officials, most prominently Germany’s Economics Minister Sigmar Gabriel, have reversed their stance on ISDS. Officials from both countries want a TTIP agreement with an ISDS that sets a new global standard. Fabry argues that geopolitical considerations are responsible for the reversal. European politicians now understand that a strong ISDS provision in a future TTIP agreement will help the EU to push for strong investor protection provisions in future negotiations about BITs and FTAs with countries such as China. (E!Sharp)

CBI: Why the UK Needs TTIP

Sean McGuire, the Director of the Confederation of British Industry, makes a case for British support for a TTIP agreement. He argues that TTIP will help SMEs by cutting red tape in the customs process. Moreover, by reducing “behind-the-border” barriers TTIP will level the playing field for all companies that want to operate in the United States and Europe. McGuire points to TPP negotiations to underscore that the EU needs TTIP to be able to shape the global trade landscape in the future.(Policy Review)

TTIP: Offering Benefits Beyond Big Business

Kara Sutton writes in an article for the Bertelsmann Foundation that most of the criticism against TTIP, especially in Europe, are overblown. Sutton argues that TTIP would bring economics gains to struggling economies in Europe. In addition, she notes that not only large corporations, but also SMEs would greatly profit from such a free trade agreement between the United States and the EU. Finally, TTIP would enable the United States and the EU to harmonize standards in sectors, such as digital trade. These standards could in turn influence future multilateral trade legislation. (Bertelsmann)

European Financial Regulation and Transatlantic Collaboration

Lord Jonathan Hill, the new European Commissioner for Financial Stability, explained that TTIP would support the European recovery by boosting growth. Job growth would in turn help governments in the EU to regain some of the public support they lost throughout the crisis years. Hill also stressed that TTIP’s ambitious regulatory approach would link markets more efficiently and improve investment flows. TTIP would serve as the base for collaborating on regulations encompassing financial rules and financial stability on both side of the Atlantic.(Brookings)

The Last Chance for Free Trade

Claudia Schmucker writes in article for the German magazine Cicero that the EU has a credibility problem when it only praises the economic benefits of TTIP. Therefore, the EU Commission should attempt to clearly name those industries and sectors that would benefit from TTIP, while also addressing potential issues that could arise as a result of TTIP. Similarly, Schmucker thinks that EU Commission should outline what the impact of the ISDS process by citing the track record of already existing investor state dispute settlement bodies. Finally, she argues that the EU’s transparency initiative should be expanded to win back public support for the TTIP agreement with the United States. (Cicero) – Original Article in German

Using Stronger Trade Laws To Build Support for TPA, TPP

Timothy C. Brightbill contends that TPA offers an opportunity to strengthen trade laws, which would help ensure that American companies get compensated when they are hurt by other countries’ unfair trading practices. A TPA bill that includes such stronger trade laws would in turn garner more support from members of Congress, who have complained time and time again that the United States is not enforcing its trade agreements properly. (USTradeBlog)

Upcoming Events

China’s Hundred Year Marathon with the United States – March 4 in Washington DC; hosted by ITIF – More Information

Why the Trade Facilitation Agreement is a Big Deal – March 4 in Washington, DC; hosted by the Washington International Trade Association – More Information

EU and the US: A Digital Love Story? – March 5 in Brussels; hosted by the Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies – More Information

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