TTIP Action | May 5
European Union Ambassador to the United States David O’Sullivan

Speeches & Official Announcements

EPP Group – Position Paper on International Trade

” It is estimated that in 2015, 90% of world growth will be generated outside the EU. It is a truism that more trade leads to higher productivity, contributes to increased external competitiveness and could contribute immediately to more than 1.5% of direct economic growth as well as bring significant consumer benefits.”

The Group of the European People’s Party and European Democrats in the European Parliament published a position paper on International Trade, noting that a balanced TTIP agreement would unleash the full, currently underutilized, potential of Europe’s economic relationship while positively shaping the world trade regulatory patterns. (EPP Group)

Ten Facts about US Trade – The Economic Benefits of US Trade

“President Obama’s top priority is to make sure the United States builds on its economic momentum by continuing to grow businesses, create jobs, and expand the middle class. That is why the President is committed to free and fair trade agreements that level the playing field and benefit American businesses and workers.”

A report released this morning by the Council of Economic Advisers presents empirical evidence and extensive summaries of economic literature, on a broad range of effects of enhanced US trade and free trade agreements. This report presents ten facts about trade, such as the fact that US businesses must overcome an average tariff hurdle of 6.8 percent to serve roughly 95 percent of the world’s consumers outside American borders. Moreover, middle-class Americans gain more than a quarter of their purchasing power from trade, and, over the past twenty years, the average industry’s increase in exports translated into 8 percent higher labor productivity. The report also notes that trade raises labor standards and helps lower the gender wage gap, while significantly diminishing pollution concentration. (WhiteHouse)

For the full report click here.

Investments in TTIP and Beyond – Towards an International Investment Court

” My assessment of the traditional ISDS system has been clear – it is not fit for purpose in the 21st century. I want the rule of law, not the rule of lawyers. I want to ensure fair treatment for EU investors abroad, but not at the expense of governments’ right to regulate. Our new approach ensures that a state can never be forced to change legislation, only to pay fair compensation in cases where the investor is deemed to have been treated unfairly.” – Cecilia Malmström

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström published a blog post today highlighting the European Commission’s new approach to investment chapters. This new approach makes dispute settlement panels operate more like traditional courts, with a clear code of conduct for arbitrators. Furthermore, it guarantees access to an appeal system and sets out to work towards the establishment of a permanent multilateral investment court. These and other changes outlined in her concept paper are intended to be an integral part of the EU’s investment protection, not only for TTIP but for all future EU investment agreements. (European Commission)

To read an analysis of this new investment dispute plan for TTIP, click here.

Future EU Trade Policy: Achieving Europe’s Strategic Goals

“I’m here in Washington for meetings with Ambassador Froman on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. We are assessing where we stand and making sure our negotiators are on track. It’s actually the third time we’ve met this year, which is more than I can even say about some of my family members! Why? Because we both take this negotiation very seriously.” – Cecilia Malmström

Commissioner Malmström traveled to Washington yesterday for the latest political stock-taking meeting with Ambassador Froman at USTR, and also addressed the future of EU Trade policy in an engaging event at CSIS. Her topics included TTIP, of course, but also the need to strategically plan for the future of EU trade policy globally.

Video of the event is available here, and the full transcript of her remarks is here.


Americans Warming to Free Trade – WSJ/NBC Poll

“Just 37% of adults polled last month said that free trade with foreign countries had helped the US, compared with 31% who said free trade had hurt. But that is a turning point: it marks the first time in more than 15 years that a plurality of Americans said that free trade helped.”

For the first time in more than 15 years, more Americans say free trade helps rather than hurts our economy, according to the NBC News-Wall Street Journal survey. Americans know that on a level playing field, US workers can compete with anyone, which is why a shift in attitudes can be seen across sectors of the American economy. (Wall Street Journal)

Transatlantic News Roundup – April 20 to May 1, 2015

The Trade Promotion Authority bill currently being debated in Congress should see a lot of activity this week, when it is expected to be put to a vote in the Senate. It has made good progress in the previous weeks, having passed through the Senate Finance Committee on April 22 with 20 votes in favor and 6 against. The ninth round of TTIP negotiations were concluded on April 24. Although negotiators indicated they had made progress on the regulatory aspect of the initiative in two key areas (regulatory cooperation and technical barriers to trade) many believe negotiations will carry into 2016. (European Parliament, Washington)

Turkey Might Join TTIP with New Agreement

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davotoglu noted that by renewing the Customs Union agreement with the European Union on May 11, Turkey will have more say in transatlantic trade. While Turkey has been a part of a customs union with the EU since 1995, it is not a member of the EU and therefore has been excluded from TTIP talks. However, Turkey will gain a significant position with the new Customs Union agreement, and Turkish officials argue that future trade agreements signed by the EU with other countries would effectively open Turkey’s market to exports from these states. (Daily Sabah)

The US-China Disconnect on Trade Deals

Many question whether President Obama is exaggerating the threat of China eclipsing the US as a global trade reference, feeding the perception in Asia that the US is trying to limit China’s ambitions. The WSJ’s Bob Davis notes that a failure of TPP talks would lead to further skepticism about Washington’s ability to lead which may produce satisfaction in Beijing. However, it would also mean that the current rules governing trade would remain those developed by the US and ratified by other countries over the past seventy years. (Wall Street Journal)

Germany Pitches Plan to Break TTIP Stalemate

German is proposing a permanent trade court between the EU and US, with public proceedings and an appeals process to replace the existing system of arbitrary panels settling fights on a case-by-case basis. German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel hopes that this bid will break the stalemate in the EU-US trade talks, as critics are currently complaining that ISDS lacks independence and lets companies seek financial redress in response to democratically-passed laws. (Politico)

Recent Analysis

Stop The Hysteria. Of Course Europe Wants an Open Internet

EU Ambassador to the US, David O’Sullivan, notes that both the EU and US have recognized the importance of supporting an open internet. While many point to Europe’s desire for “data protection” and “Fortress Europe,” O’Sullivan highlights the facts, which show that Europe loves internet and technology. The European Commission’s Digital Single Market proposal, to be released tomorrow, responds to a European need to be able to enjoy the same online content and service regardless of the country, and an opportunity set up a virtual business and offer services in any EU country easily. Moreover, Ambassador O’Sullivan notes that establishing simple, clear rules for copyright and ensuring that personal data is protected is important for all modern Internet users, not only Europeans. (Wired)

Ambassador O’Sullivan will be here at the Atlantic Council tomorrow discussing the new Digital Single Market proposal and the future of transatlantic cooperation on digital issues.

New Democrats Expect Growing Support for Fast-Track

A small group of House Democrats who support TPA legislation noted last Thursday that they expect more party members to step forward in favor of the bill. However, they did state that Republicans would still have to provide the bulk of the votes to win its approval, as many Democrats find the bill hard to accept – especially in the industrial Midwest where NAFTA is often blamed for the loss of manufacturing jobs. While the White House argues that TTP would include enforceable rules to protect workers and the environment, for many newer members of Congress, TPA is the first hard vote they have faced. (Politico)

A Fake Debate Over Trade Talks

The editors at Bloomberg View note that criticisms over TTP’s secrecy are misguided on two accounts. First, the deal is not so secret; and two, some secrecy is justified in negotiations. Not only did the Office of the USTR hold approximately 1,700 meetings on TPP with lawmakers and their staff, but they also published its negotiating objectives online as well as an outline of what has been agreed to so far. Moreover, if Congress passes TPA, the complete text of the deal will be made public before it is voted on. However, today, the secrecy debate is drowning out any discussion of how the deal plays to US strengths, and making it harder for an honest debate over the real costs and benefits of TPP to take place. (Bloomberg View)

Delaney Statement on Trade Promotion Authority Legislation

Congressman John K. Delaney (D, MD) released a statement supporting the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act which would give President Obama TPA. Congressman Delaney noted that TPA would give President Obama new ways to enforce American standards to ensure the absence of a “race to the bottom”, with China setting the terms for trade. Trade, he noted, significantly helps Maryland’s economy with 59,000 Maryland jobs supported by over $12 billion in exports. A good trade deal would open more markets for US manufacturers and create new jobs. (Congressman John Delaney)

Republicans Push Barack Obama to Rally Democrats for TPP Vote

Senator Orrin Hatch, chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, called for Barack Obama to work harder to support among Democrats for TPA. Many Democrats are coming under intense pressure from labor unions to resist Mr. Obama’s trade agenda, despite the President taking on his critics more forcefully in recent weeks. Currently, there are about 50-60 Democrats in the 435-member House who might support granting the president fast-track authority. (Financial Times)

Why Democrats Soured on Trade

Bloomberg’s Albert Hunt states that it is likely that more than 80 percent of congressional Democrats will oppose TPP. Since NAFTA, Democrats have turned decidedly protectionist as the world grows increasingly globalized and US manufacturing jobs suffer steep losses. These pressures have even reached Hillary Clinton, who has recently been signaling that she may oppose TPP in the primary elections. (Bloomberg View)

President Obama Finally Challenges His Party’s Trade Skeptics

Forbes contributor Dan Ikenson notes that President Obama is finally challenging his party’s retrogressive stance, stating that Democratic opposition to his trade agenda was “simply wrong” and going on to accuse his own party of being dishonest with their portrayals of TPA and TPP. Ikenson states that, throughout his tenure, President Obama has permitted fallacies about how trade allegedly benefits big corporations at the expense of workers to go uncorrected. Now the President needs to convince Democrats not only that they are wrong, but also that he is right – in order to be remembered as a president who expanded American’s freedom to trade and reasserted US global economic leadership.(Forbes)

The Digital Opportunity: Democratizing Trade for the 99 Percent

The Progressive Policy Institute released a policy brief highlighting some of the many ways in which democratized trade in the global digital economy benefits American entrepreneurs, small businesses, consumers, and communities. The brief underlines what it is critical for America to lead in writing modern trade rules that promote the free flow of data and open digital commerce, as the internet has the power to drive trade that is more inclusive where new, non-traditional traders enjoy opportunities in world commerce that were once primarily reserved for big companies. (Progressive Policy Institute)

You Think the EU’s Got Trade Challenges

Politico ‘s Adam Behsudi notes that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will have to convince his party that an Asia-Pacific trade deal is worth breaking with a huge part of its base, the Japanese farm lobby. For Prime Minister Abe, the path to economic transformation involves breaking agriculture’s more than half-a-century dominance over Japanese affairs. The Japanese government is reluctant to modify tariffs that soar as high as 778 percent on the product. Instead, they are working to increase Tokyo’s quota on duty-free imports from the US. (Politico)

Upcoming Events

Breaking Down Digital Barriers: Turning a Transatlantic Challenge into Opportunity – May 6 in Washington; hosted by the Atlantic Council – More Information

Shifting Risks in the Global Financial Market: The World Economy is Improving, but is it Stable? – May 6 in Washington; hosted by the Brookings Institution – More Information

Privacy in the Modern Age: The Search for Solutions – May 6 in Washington; hosted by the Aspen Institute – More Information

Public-Private Partnerships: Joining Core Business Interests with Global Development – May 7 in Washington; hosted by the Brookings Institution – More Information

Breakfast with US Under Secretary of Commerce Stefan Selig – May 11 in Paris, France; hosted by the French-American Foundation and the American Chamber of Commerce in France – More Information

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

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

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