Sept 30 Photo_FinalEuropean Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström speaks about TTIP and the future of trade policy at Columbia University on September 25 in New York City. (Picture: European Commission)

This Week’s Trade Highlights

After an eventful last week featuring Chinese President Xi, EU Trade Commissioner Malmström, the Pope, and the UN Summit in New York City, this week is again packed with important meetings and announcements on trade on both sides of the Atlantic. 

On the European side, the European Commission launched the Capital Markets Union Action Plan today which is intended to help build a single market for capital across the 28 EU Member States to boost business funding and investment financing. 

Today, the WTO’s annual public forum kicked off in Geneva (through October 2) with the theme “Trade Works”. Marking the 20th anniversary of the WTO, the forum will evaluate and discuss the past and future 20 years of global cooperation in the WTO and how it influences the world economy.


On the US side, this week is all about the Transpacific Partnership(TPP). Starting today, the Trade Ministers of 12 Pacific Rim countries meet in Atlanta hoping to reach a final ambitious agreement by October 1, 2015.


On our trade radar for next week: 
October 5 OECD/G20 Global Forum on International Investment in Istanbul, Turkey
October 5 through 6 G20 Trade Ministers Meeting in Istanbul, Turkey
October 6 through 13 Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) negotiating round in Geneva, Switzerland

And what about TTIP? The next negotiating round will be in Miami, Florida (October 19 through 23)

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

Commissioner Malmström Gives Isaiah Berlin Memorial Lecture

“But today’s debates also reflect some new realities. Trade negotiations today involve a much broader range of issues than taxes on imports at the border. We live in societies governed by complex regulation to protect things like the environment, public health or consumer safety. These policies are vital. But they do have an impact on trade flows. So to be effective, today’s trade deals must look at ways to make public policies like these more compatible with each other.”—Cecilia Malmström

Last week, European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström gave the Isaiah Berlin Lecture at the Liberal International. The Commissioner connected Berlin’s philosophy to current policy choices, arguing that more open trade and greater economic interconnectedness promotes freedom and greater economic opportunity. She also stressed that trade deals like TTIP are connected to domestic and other policy fields, and a broader perspective on trade is necessary to see its benefits and allow for democratic debate. (European Commission)

Commissioner Malmström Speaks at Columbia University

“TTIP should be our most ambitious agreement but in all the EU’s free trade agreements we seek to be as ambitious as possible – to make sure they are adapted [to] today’s realities – and that they work.”—Cecilia Malmström

Commissioner Malmström also spoke at Columbia University last Friday about TTIP and the future of trade agreements. The Commissioner emphasized that trade is now very different, with global supply chains and significant trade in services, and that trade policy needs to reflect this new reality. She also spoke about the need for trade policy to be informed by values and democratic debate while outlining the Commission’s proposal for an investment dispute court and its attempts to make negotiations as transparent as possible. (European Commission)

You can watch a video of Commissioner Malmström’s speech here

Commissioner Malmström Gives Radio Interview

Commissioner Malmström also did a radio interview with Bloomberg Business last week. She discussed TTIP, the European Union’s trade with China, the Euro, and other issues currently affecting Europe. (Bloomberg Business)


Trade Negotiators Pledge to Speed Up TTIP Talks

After meeting last week in Washington DC, USTR Michael Froman and EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström both agreed that TTIP negotiations should and would be intensified leading up to the next round of official negotiations in October. While differences remain around an investment dispute mechanism, there seems to be resolution on both sides to push towards an agreement. (International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development)

TTIP Conclusion Next Year Possible 

Speaking at an event at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, EU Ambassador to the United States David O’Sullivan was rather optimistic about the prospect of reaching an ambitious TTIP agreement in 2016. While he recognized that negotiations would get more difficult with the 2016 US Presidential election approaching, he also noted that both sides of the Atlantic agreed to intensify negotiations. (Politico)

TTIP Negotiations Stalled but Optimism Remains

A European Commission assessment expressed some concern with the current pace of TTIP negotiations, as the United States, currently more focused on finalizing the TPP, has yet to provide its position papers on several issues. However, with Commissioner Malmström and USTR Froman meeting in Washington last week, the TPP likely to be finished this week, and the 11th round of TTIP talks coming up in mid-October, progress towards an agreement is likely to pick up significantly in the coming weeks. (Politico)

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Recent Analysis

TTIP’s Effect on American Jobs

In a piece for Cato’s Online Forum, Laura Baughman discusses TTIP’s potential impact on American jobs. She points out that support for and perception of a finalized agreement will largely hinge upon its perceived effect on jobs. She also emphasizes that jobs created from Free Trade Agreements don’t just come from increased exports but also increased imports and increased economic activity from lower trade barriers. Citing an Atlantic Council report, she notes that a potential TTIP agreement would likely add an additional $865 to each American households’ income and the creation of more than 740,000 net US jobs. (Cato Institute)

An Update on TTIP

Writing for the Liberal Democrat Voice, Nick Thornsby looks at the current state of TTIP negotiations and assesses some of the bigger issues in the negotiations. Discussing the Investment Court Proposal from the European Commission, he points out that it would establish a more rigorous and transparent system than currently exists, which-in conjunction with the Commission publishing its negotiating positions- goes a long way towards addressing some critics’ concerns about the level of transparency in negotiations. (Liberal Democrat Voice)

TTIP and Government Procurement

In an article on Cato’s Online Forum, Gary Hufbauer and Tyler Moran analyze TTIP’s possible effect on public procurement. Government procurement accounts for a significant portion of GDP both in the United States and the European Union, making it an important part of any finalized trade agreement. While some national level procurement has been liberalized, in many cases-especially in the United States- sub-federal procurement has not been included in any trade agreement negotiations. If TTIP can reform transatlantic government procurement along the lines suggested, it will serve as a template from much broader reforms on a global basis. (Cato Institute)

TPP News

Potentially Final TPP Round Begins in Atlanta

What is likely to be the final round of negotiations for the Transpacific Partnership (TPP) began today in Atlanta. Ministers from participating countries have convened to try and overcome the final remaining obstacles to an agreement. If compromises can be reached on a small number of remaining obstacles, a finalized agreement could emerge by the end of this week. (Politico)

Progress on Auto Parts, Still Disagreement Over Dairy

With another round of TPP negotiations beginning today in Atlanta, the final remaining obstacles to an agreement are rules of origin for auto parts and concerns over dairy tariffs. Significant progress has been made in recent weeks on auto part rules of origin, with the United States, Mexico, Canada, and Japan meeting several times before official negotiations convened to clear up disagreements. (Politico)

The Bigger Picture – Trade in Action

United States and China Make Progress on Bilateral Investment Treaty

During President XI’s official visit to the United States last week, he and President Obama made some progress towards a Bilateral Investment Treaty. Previously, negotiations had stalled over China’s refusal to open up more industries to foreign investment. During the visit, the list of industries China wants excluded from a treaty was shortened. This has increased optimism that China is willing to compromise and increased the prospects for an agreement. (Reuters)
For more info about the Bilateral Investment Treaty and US-China economic relations, click here to read a White House fact sheet. 


European Commission Launches Capital Markets Union Action Plan

The European Commission today launched its “Capital Markets Union Action Plan”. The aim is to break down barriers within the European Union to increase investment opportunities and boost employment and growth. An initial part of this program is to reduce barriers for small and medium-sized enterprises so that they have more diversified funding options. The plan also hopes to boost investment in infrastructure and increase financial stability. (European Commission)


World Trade Organization Director-General Speaks on the Importance of Trade

WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo opened the WTO’s Public Forum with a speech on trade and its positive effect on jobs, growth, reducing poverty, and greater global connectedness. He also discussed thenew Sustainable Development Goals put out by the United Nations last week and focused on the need for trade to bring more people out of poverty and reduce economic uncertainty. (World Trade Organization)

Upcoming Events

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

Trade for Sustainable Development Forum 2015 – October 1-2 in Geneva, hosted by the International Trade Centre – 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