TTIP Action | May 12
President Obama Visited Nike’s Headquarters in Beverton, Oregon to talk trade last Friday.

Speeches & Official Announcements

Remarks by the President on Trade

We can’t stand on the beaches and stop the global economy at our shores. We’ve got to harness it on our terms. This century is built for us. It’s about innovation. It’s about dynamism and flexibility and entrepreneurship, and information and knowledge and science and research. That’s us. So we can’t be afraid of it; we’ve got to seize it.” – President Barack Obama

President Obama made a speech at Nike, Inc. last Friday, in Beaverton, Oregon, highlighting the importance of trade and current trade deals under negotiation. Emphasizing that trade was neither a left or a right issue, a business or a labor issue, President Obama instead focused on the need to look towards the future in a way that reflects American values. TPP is beneficial for both workers and the environment, setting high standards for wages and labor. (White House)

For video of the speech, click here.

Remarks at the Second Worldwide Symposium of the Foreign Trade Advisors of France

TPP alone, if concluded, would connect Americans with 40 percent of the world’s GDP – and 50 percent of its projected economic growth. In Asia, there are currently 525 million middle class consumers. That number is expected to grow to 2.7 billion by 2030. For the United States, that’s a market that’s projected to be six times the size of our domestic one.” – Charles H. Rivkin

Charles H. Rivkin, Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs made a speech in Miami last Thursday underlining the importance of trade in the modern economy. Economic power, based on two-way trade and investment, must be achieved. Moreover, the high-standard and ambitious free trade agreements that are under negotiation will bring shared prosperity to both the United States and its trading partners. (US Department of State)

EU-Mexico Trade: Modernizing Our Relations

The EU and Mexico are strategic partners, linked through a Free Trade Agreement which, in the last 15 years, has multiplied our trade, our investments and created economic growth and jobs for both sides. […] We will make the modernized EU-Mexico trade agreement comparable to our deal with Canada and to what TTIP will become.” – Cecilia Malmström

Yesterday, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and Mexican Secretary of Economy Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal met in Brussels to announce the joint intention to upgrade the EU-Mexico Free Trade Agreement. The EU and Mexico are currently engaged in a scoping exercise to ensure that both sides share a common understanding of the scope and level of ambition needed for a successful modernization. (European Commission)

Report of the Ninth Round of Negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership

The ninth negotiating round took place in New York (20-24 April). The negotiating sessions encompassed a very broad range of subjects with a view to consolidate the work in all three pillars of the negotiations. The found focused particularly on the regulatory and rules pillars.

The European Commission published a summary of the ninth round of TTIP negotiations. On market access, technical discussions have continued on tariffs and public procurement. The round did not covered the services area, in which negotiators are currently preparing for an exchange of revised offers ahead of the next negotiating round. The EU presented its revised proposal for regulatory cooperation, and discussion continued on all horizontal aspects of the regulatory cluster. The tenth negotiating round is expected to take place in July in Brussels. (European Commission)


US Rejects EU Proposal for Investment Court, Insists on Retaining ISDS

On Monday, Stefan Selig, US Undersecretary for International Trade at the Commerce Department, rejected an EU proposal to create an international investment court aimed at resolving one of the disputes holding up TTIP negotiations. Mr. Selig noted that ISDS mechanisms already exist in international trade agreements and had not resulted in a loss of sovereignty for countries. France is currently working on a proposal to reform ISDS which will be unveiled and sent to the European Commission in the upcoming weeks. (EurActiv)

For Mr. Selig’s take on how trade and investment lift the US economy, click here.

Why Obama is Happy to Fight Elizabeth Warren on the Trade Deal

It seems that Obama is willing to risk long-standing alliances to finalize TPP and TTIP, as it represents a rare and probably final opportunity for him to add to his lasting legacy on economic and foreign affairs. So, he’s taking the fight directly to those who oppose his trade agenda, regardless of their political affiliation. (Yahoo)

Why Obama Went to Oregon to Push Congress on Trade Agreements

Oregon has come to occupy a special role in the debate about the benefits and perils of free trade with its boom in new-economy jobs. The future of the American economy can be seen in Oregon, which is filled with agricultural exporters and niche manufacturers. This is why, last week, Obama came to the headquarters of Nike in Oregon, to lay out his trade argument. In this setting, he felt free to criticize members of his own party, without having to worry about offending many of the more than 2,000 people present. (Washington Post)

Senate Democrats Block Progress on Obama’s Trade Authority

Senate Democrats blocked consideration of legislation granting President Obama accelerated power to complete TPP. The Senate voted 52-45 on a procedural motion to begin debating the bill to give the president TPA, eight votes short of the 60 needed to proceed. President Obama may have to accept trade enforcement provisions he does not want in order to propel the trade legislation through the Senate. (New York Times)

Recent Analysis

Lamy: TTIP’s Goal Is ‘To Harmonize Consumer Protection’

Ex-World Trade Organization Chief Pascal Lamy stated that improved consumer protection was at the heart of the US-EU free-trade deal currently under negotiations. Political leaders’ failure to emphasize this fact to the public has has allowed the anti-TTIP movement to grow. Instead, they needed to explain to the public that TTIP involves converging levels of protection to make them higher little by little, in a way that benefits everyone. (EurActiv)

James Bacchus: Give Obama Ability to Get the Best Deals

James Bacchus, a former Democratic member of the US House of Representatives, argues that Democrats should have enough confidence in President Obama to let him negotiate trade deals. Without TPA, opportunities for American workers and businesses will slip away, because with no negotiating authority, American trade negotiators will get less of a deal, or no deal at all. (Orlando Sentinel)

Hogan: TTIP Will Not Compromise EU Food Quality and Traceability Standards

EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan made a speech to the European Association of Livestock Marts’ AGM, taking the opportunity to reassure them that he would be proactive in promoting the opening an important market while not compromising on EU food quality of traceability standards. (Farmers Journal)

Renzi Believes That A TTIP Failure Would Be Disastrous for the EU

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi called for a strong Europe, capable of turning the page of the crisis and sculpting its own vision of the future, notably by signing TTIP with the United States. Europe cannot afford to hesitate and question TTIP when the United States is currently negotiating a deal with Asia, he noted, adding that if Europe cannot come up with an agreement by the end of the year, it is actively sabotaging itself. (EurActiv) – Original article in French

Elizabeth Warren says Obama’s Trade Policy is Imperiling his Wall Street Reforms. Is She Right?

Capitol Hill’s premier proponent of strict bank regulation, Elizabeth Warren, has been opposing TPA quite loudly over the last few months. Nevertheless, Vox’s Matthew Yglesias points out the various flaws in her arguments. Not only would trade be irrelevant to a Republican President trying to eliminate Dodd-Frank, but TPA would outlive the Obama administration – rendering arguments grounded in simple partisanship misguided, at best. (Vox)

Opportunities for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

USTR recently published a short report underlining the numerous benefits that TTIP would present for SMEs. By presenting various case study examples from across different states and industries, they make a strong case for the inclusion of a chapter dedicated to SME issues in TTIP negotiations. Such a chapter will establish mechanisms for both sides to work together to facilitate SME-participation in transatlantic trade, and could also include an SME committee that would engage with the small business community to help them understand the provisions of the agreement and how they can benefit from it. (USTR)

Upcoming Events

Global Commerce: New Trends and Opportunities in the Americas and Beyond – May 14 in Houston, TX; hosted by the Atlantic Council and Baker & McKenzie – More Information

A Discussion with the Czech Republic’s Minister of Industry and Trade, Jan Mladek – May 14 in Washington DC; hosted by the Atlantic Council – More Information

Working for All? New Ideas and Innovative Strategies to Enhance Economic and Social Benefits in Trade Agreements – May 14 in Washington DC; hosted by the George Washington University and the ILO – More Information

2nd Annual NFTC London Trade and Investment Forum – May 15 in London, hosted by the National Foreign Trade Council – More Information