TTIP Action | May 7
Group shot of the panel
The Atlantic Council’s Fran Burwell, EU Ambassador David O’Sullivan, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Industry & Analysis Marcus Jadotte, President and CEO of Center for Democracy & Technology Nuala O’Connor, and Managing Director of Rock Creek Global Advisors Daniel Price discussed the future of transatlantic cooperation on the digital economy at the Atlantic Council’s event yesterday on Breaking Down Digital Barriers.

For video of the event, please click here.

Speeches & Official Announcements

Concerned About Secrecy? Pass TPA

“It’s without TPA that an administration could keep Congress and the American people in the dark. That’s why trade promotion authority will codify in law – in some cases, for the first time ever – a number of transparency measures. That way, the American people will have all the information they need to make their own decisions.”
The Committee on Ways and Means published a blog post noting that TPA will allow for effective congressional oversight and an informed public long before any vote in Congress. TPA requires the president to make public the text of a trade agreement at least sixty days before it is finalized. Not only would TPA allow every member of Congress to read the negotiating text and receive detailed briefings, but it would also allow them to attend negotiating rounds and consult with a new transparency officer, among other things. (Committee on Ways and Means)

Remarks at the European Parliament on Investment in TTIP and Beyond

“Excluding ISDS from TTIP means missing the best chance to reform the system for a generation. Member States have 1400 agreements. Those exist and will not disappear. With this we have a chance to start reform. The world’s two biggest economies don’t negotiate a comprehensive free trade agreement every day. We all agree that there is a problem. Let’s start dealing with it now, in TTIP but also for all future agreements.” – Cecilia Malmström
At a Meeting of the International Trade Committee of the European Parliament, Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström noted how the Commission was trying to create a new modern system of investment arbitration, and emphasized the need to keep some form of investment protection in TTIP. She unveiled a concept paper which proposed to remove any ambiguity about sovereign governments’ right to regulate, while addressing the fears of an unhealthy link between arbitrators and parties to a dispute. Malmström also proposed setting up an appeals mechanism and addressing the relationship with domestic courts in order to get rid of the possibility that a company could get compensation twice. (European Commission)

To read the news brief on Commissioner Malmström’s visit to the European Parliament, please click here.

For an analysis, click here. (In French)

Statement by Vice-President Andrus Ansip at the Press Conference on the Adoption of the Digital Single Market Strategy

” The vast majority of Member States have asked for the DSM to happen. The strategy reflects their contributions, and those of the European Parliament’s main political groups. All these initiatives must be implemented in a coordinated way for the DSM to become reality, to bring tangible benefits, create jobs and growth.”
Vice President for the Digital Single Market on the European Commission, Andrus Ansip, held a press conference presenting the three pillars of the DSM strategy. First, the strategy aims to remove existing barriers; second, to create high-quality infrastructure which has to function smoothly across all of Europe. Finally, the third pillar aims to digitize the industry in order to maintain growth by supporting start-ups across all economic sectors. (European Commission)

For the European Commission’s press release highlighting the sixteen initiatives comprised in the DSM, click here.


White House Hits Back at Reid Threat to Block Trade Bill

Last Tuesday, the White House criticized Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid’s threat to block the administration trade blueprint. Senator Reid has taken a particularly aggressive stand against the Administration’s efforts to finalize TPP, and opposes granting President Obama TPA. The President’s top spokesman noted that this attitude was setting the bar very low, and that the American people have high expectations for the US Senate’s ability to get things done in the best interest of the American people. (Washington Examiner)

European Union Unveils Digital Single Market Plan

Yesterday, the European Union unveiled a comprehensive set of initiatives to create a Digital Single Market, which officials estimate will contribute 415 billion euros to the EU. The DSM aims to replace the regulatory regime of 28 national markets with just one, by implementing 16 initiatives before the end of 2016. However, the strategies will first be discussed in the European Parliament, and then each of the 16 initiatives will be taken up by the European Commission. (BuzzFeed)

EU Calls for Global Investment Court

The EU called for the establishment of a global arbitration court to hear disputes between foreign investors and governments in an attempt to diffuse ISDS controversy. Among the reforms proposed by the EU is the creation of an appeals process for investor cases in future trade agreements, and the creation of one permanent court to hear investor-state disputes. The US has yet to comment on the EU’s proposal. (Financial Times)

Obama Doing ‘Formidable Job’ on Trade Powers, EU Official Says

European Union Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström remarked that President Obama is working hard to win negotiating powers that will be necessary to strike TTIP, despite opposition from some Republicans and most Democrats. Malmström noted that the EU trade deal may gain momentum if Obama can push through TPP. (Bloomberg)

Recent Analysis

Voices: Former Defense Secretaries and Military Leaders Call for TPA, TPP

This morning, seventeen former Secretaries of Defense and military leaders sent a letter to Congressional leaders calling for the passage of TPA, so that the US could close negotiations and reap the strategic benefits of TPP. not only would it link the US to one of the world’s most vibrant and dynamic regions, but in its absence, the US’ commitment, resolve, influence, and leadership would ultimately be questioned. (US Business Coalition for TPP)

Obama Aides: Warren ‘Baseless’ On Trade

Politico’s Ben White notes that the White House is growing increasingly alarmed at Senator Elizabeth Warren’s escalating rhetoric. While her remarks are increasingly wide of the mark and easily rebutted, she is not easily taken on as a sustained attack would only arouse her supporters on the progressive and labor movements. Senator Warren’s current complain concerns Wall Street oversight, as she believes that if Obama was granted TPA, a future Republican president could use the power to eliminate the Dodd-Frank financial reform law. (Politico)

Unlocking Global Trade Growth

Senior Vice President of UPS, Amgad Shehata, notes that while global trade volumes have slowed dramatically, new trade policies could set the stage for many of the derivative benefits that economies receive. For that to happen, however, broad-based liberalization must resume. This includes TPP, TTIP, and TiSA, and other agreements that facilitate trade through the internet and small business trade. With courageous leadership, Shehata notes that new opportunities and broader benefits for businesses of all sizes could help re-invigorate global production and services trade that can deliver significant benefits. (Longitudes)

This is Europe’s Plan to Compete with US Internet Dominance

The Verge’s James Vincent notes that while the EU’s official brief included broad descriptions which could cover a variety of actions, he believes that it is likely to mean more probes into US tech companies. These include looking at how paid ads appear in search results, how firms look after their customer’s data, and whether the regulations governing ‘old media’ should also apply to the ‘new digital’. Nevertheless, future actions will be slow, especially given the political and societal aspects of personal data, surveillance, and security. (The Verge)

The Digital Single Market Strategy Will Complicate the Economic Relationship Between the United States and Europe

Law professor David Fidler notes that Europe’s DSM will significantly affect US tech companies operating in the EU, as the strategy declares the EU’s intent to continue enforcing its antitrust rules and to launch a comprehensive assessment of the roles and power of online platforms. Companies such as Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Uber and Airbnb are all affected by this strategy to ‘level the playing field’ and with the US and EU already disagreeing over data protection, privacy, and the application of EU competition law to US tech companies, some, including Fidler, believe the DSM could complicate the transatlantic relationship. (Council on Foreign Relations)

Upcoming Events

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

Reforming the Future: Lessons for Sovereign Debt Restructuring with Joseph Stiglitz – May 12 in Washington; hosted by the Atlantic Council – 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