TPP Ministers_2United States Trade Representative Michael Froman and the other 11 ministers from the TPP countries pose for a photo after completing negotiations for the Transpacific Partnership on October 5 in Atlanta. (Picture: Office of the United States Trade Representative)

This Week’s Trade Highlights

October has started out as a good month for trade:

The United States concluded TPP negotiations with Japan and 10 other Pacific Rim economies after years of negotiations on Monday.

Next steps: The next task will be for President Obama to get approval from Congress during his final year in office. The bill requires a simple majority in the Senate. Getting a yes from the House will be more difficult as Democrats are expected to show some opposition over labor and environmental concerns. 

The European Commission launched the Capital Markets Union Action Plan last week. 

On the global stage
The European Union announced that they finalized the ratification process of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement on Monday which is set to significantly simplify and modernize customs procedures around the world once two-thirds of the WTO membership has formally accepted the Agreement that was made in 2013. 

The G20 trade ministers met in Istanbul this week; their agenda was focused on inclusiveness, implementation and investment.

And what about TTIP? 
We hope that trade October also finishes on a strong note with the next round of TTIP negotiations on October 19-23 in Miami, Florida. 

In the upcoming weeks, we will introduce some fresh additions to our TTIP newsletter! “All things TTIP” will of course still be our focus but we will also be giving you brief updates on the latest on TPP as well as other trade deals!

Speeches and Official Announcements

Next Round of TTIP Negotiations Announced 

The office of the United States Trade Representative officially announced that the 11th round of TTIP negotiations will take place in Miami from October 19th to October 23rd. As part of the negotiations, representatives will also hold a Stakeholders’ Forum to allow interested groups to provide commentary and suggestions about the negotiations. (United States Trade Representative)

United States Trade Representative’s Official Transpacific Partnership Press Release

 “TPP brings higher standards to nearly 40 percent of the global economy. We expect this historic agreement to promote economic growth, support higher-paying jobs; enhance innovation, productivity and competitiveness; raise living standards; reduce poverty in our countries; and to promote transparency, good governance, and strong labor and environmental protections.”—TPP Ministers’ Statement

The United States Trade Representative, along with ministers of the 11 other Pacific partner nations, released a statement after completing negotiations for the TPP on Monday. The ministers hailed TPP as an agreement that will raise standards and support growth for over 40% of the global economy. (United States Trade Representative)

A video of the Ministers’ press conference can be watched here.

A transcript of the Ministers’ press conference can be read here.

More information about TPP can be found here.

President Obama Discusses TPP

President Obama gave an interview with American Public Media’s Marketplace on Tuesday, discussing the benefits of the TPP. The President emphasized that the deal has enforceable provisions to raise labor and environmental standards. He also discussed the benefits to small and medium-sized enterprises that will now face fewer barriers to export and will be able to expand. The agreement also has some provisions about currency manipulation, which although unenforceable are a first for a trade agreement. (Marketplace)

US Secretary Kerry Makes Remarks on Finalized TPP Negotiations 

“With today’s successful conclusion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, the United States and 11 other nations have taken a critical step forward in strengthening our economic ties and deepening our strategic relationships in the Asia-Pacific region.”—John Kerry

After the conclusion of TPP negotiations on Monday, US Secretary Kerry released a statement emphasizing the the agreement’s boost to the US economy in the near future, whilst strengthening the economic and strategic relationships between the United States and Asia-Pacific nations long into the future. (State Department)


TPP Deal Leads to Optimism for TTIP 

The recently concluded TPP negotiations have led to optimism from TTIP negotiators leading into the next round of talks later this month. The TPP agreement has both set a standard going forward as well as allowed a shift in attention to TTIP negotiations. While completing a deal in 2016 will be difficult, there seems to be renewed will on both sides to push forward with negotiations. If an agreement is not concluded until a new administration enters office in the United States, it will likely significantly lengthen the time until an agreement is reached. (Financial Times

Read a similar news story on the potential shift of focus to TTIP here. (EurActiv)

VW Scandal Could Complicate TTIP Negotiations

A video report from Deutsche Welle discusses the potential impact of the recent Volkswagen emissions scandal on TTIP negotiations. Many, including EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström, are concerned that the scandal could undermine confidence in negotiations just as the focus shifts from the TPP to TTIP. (Deutsche Welle)

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Recent Analysis

How Can We Bridge Automaking Standards for Growth?

The weekly EconoGraphic from the Atlantic Council’s Global Business and Economics Program takes a look at the similarities in emissions standards between the United States and the European Union, as well as the potential export boost for both sides from lowered tariffs as part of TTIP. With standards already so similar, continued tariff barriers in the auto industry only serve to block exports and growth. (Atlantic Council)

A Fresh Approach to Labor Rights and Employment in TTIP

In a piece published by the Cato Institute, Susan Aaronson discusses labor and employment rights in relation to TTIP. She argues that the two sides are talking past each other in discussions about labor standards, and that it’s time for a fresh look at how labor standards are handled in free trade agreements. She proposes using a chapter on labor rights to promote internationalization of high labor standards, to ensure that regulatory agreements in other chapters of an agreement don’t indirectly undermine existing labor regulations, and to create a more comprehensive, cross-border set of regulations protecting workers. (Cato Institute)

Germany Needs TTIP- Now More than Ever

In this opinion piece, Martin Greive of the German newspaper “Die Welt” sees the recent conclusion of TPP negotiations as a “warning signal” for Europe: If Europe wants to continue to shape the global rules of trade, it needs a strong strategic partner- the United States. He explains that despite the enormous benefits that Europe in general and Germany in particular stand to gain from TTIP, and despite the European Commission’s efforts to respond to public concerns, the TTIP debate is currently too ideologically and emotionally charged for critics to see either progress or opportunities. (Die Welt) – Original article in German

In the same light, Members of the European Parliament warn EU competitiveness is at risk unless the United States and Europe conclude a deal similar in size to the Transpacific Partnership. (The Parliament Magazine)

TPP News

TPP: Putting the United States in the Driver’s Seat

The Atlantic Council’s Andrea Montanino, Director of the Global Business&Economics Program, and Jason Marczak, Deputy Director of the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center, gave an interview on the implications of the TPP agreement and how it will shape the future of trade. Both emphasized that the agreement puts the United States at the forefront of the global trading system and would help spread more standardized trading rules to a huge portion of the global economy. Montanino also emphasized that the agreement helped increase the urgency of negotiations for TTIP, as Europeans do not want to be left behind. (Atlantic Council)

TPP: Lessons From The Pacific For The Atlantic

A post by Peter Rashish on the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies’ blog looks at several lessons from TPP negotiations that should be taken into account in TTIP negotiations. Rashish sees three important lessons: the United States and the European Union will need to make significant compromises with each other, a strong German voice will be necessary to push negotiations forward-just as Japan’s joining TPP negotiations helped make the TPP a transformative agreement- and finally, that governments and supporters of TTIP need to be more forceful and clear about the benefits of the deal in the face of continued strong opposition. (American Institute for Contemporary German Studies)

The Bigger Picture – Trade in Action

European Union Ratifies World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement 

Last week the World Trade Organization held a public forum on its’ Trade Facilitation Agreement and intellectual property issues, as well as continued progress towards the agreement’s ratification. The forum occurred just days before Commissioner Malmström notified WTO Director-General Azevedo of the European Union’s ratification of the Trade Facilitation Agreement. The agreement aims to standardize customs procedures and reduce export barriers. (World Trade Organization) (European Commission)

Malmström Blogs From G20 Meetings in Istanbul

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström recently put up a blog post about her meetings in Istanbul and the European Union’s recent passage of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement. The agreement will help modernize and standardize customs procedures, especially benefiting smaller exporters and companies operating internationally. As part of the post, the Commissioner also argued that this was an important step in reaffirming the importance of the multilateral trading system and continuing the World Trade Organization’s role in promoting international trade standards.  (European Commission)

The Importance of Global Trade Shown Through a Sandwich

A video from the US Chamber of Commerce attempts to illustrate the value of global trade by demonstrating the difficulty of getting all the ingredients for a sandwich through your own labor versus being able to purchase a wide range of goods from around the world. The video is meant to demonstrate the benefits, both in efficiency and variety, gained from increased global trade and more open access to markets around the world- benefits that would even be increased through trade deals such as TPP and TTIP. (United States Chamber of Commerce)

Upcoming Events

UK National Road Shows – June to December in the United Kingdom, hosted by the British American Business – More Information

Jobs and Economic Growth Seminar: How TTIP Will Help the Columbus Region- October 9 in Columbus Ohio; hosted by the Trans-Atlantic Business Council – More Information

Will TTIP Live up to Its Promise? – October 12 in Washington DC- hosted by the CATO Institute- More Information

TTIP- What’s in it for workers and employers?– 14 October 2015 in Brussels, hosted by the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise at the European Parliament-More Information

Transatlantic Leadership in  Global Perspective – Challenges and Opportunities– October 19 in Bruges, Belgium- hosted by the College of Europe and the European Foreign Affairs Review- More Information

The Good, the Bad & the Ugly of Bilateral Investment Treaties: What Investors And Their Advisors Need To Know About Investment Protection When Investing In Foreign Countries – October 29 in New York, hosted by the European American Chamber of Commerce- More Information