From Trade Tariffs to Trust – TTIP a Year on
This analysis from EU Observer gives an excellent overview over the current state of play in TTIP negotiations as they enter year two. The article deftly addresses popular misperceptions concerning safety standards, consumer protection, food standards and particularly the ISDS mechanism. Despite TTIPs current struggles, the authors are convinced that both sides of the Atlantic will go well beyond tariffs on their negotiations. However, the current state of events also suggests that the conclusion of TTIP largely depends on changing public opinion and politicians’ perceptions. (EU Observer)

Speeches and Official Announcements

US Free Trade Deal: “In the End Parliament Decides on the Agreements”
The EU Reporter spoke to Bernd Lange, a German member of European Parliament and new chair of the International Trade Committee, about TTIP and other upcoming priorities for the committee. Lange emphasized that a free-trade agreement with the US has incredible potential to boost the European economy, but this should not come at the expense of consumers or workers via reduced regulations or standards. (EU Reporter

“TTIP is not the Work of the Devil”
Last week, German Federal Agriculture Minister Christian Schmid, said that some TTIP opponents promote a “nearly irrational impression of deficient food standards and of a threat to agricultural standards through TTIP,” instead of objectively looking at the opportunities at hand and what’s actually being negotiated. Schmid underlined that “TTIP is not the devil’s work. We need transparency and objectivity in this debate instead of prejudices and legends.” According to the minister, the people who want to see TTIP fail have not done their homework. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten) — Original article in German


Ukraine Crisis: Russia Pushes up Interest Rates
Russia raised its main interest rate by 50 points on Friday, due to geopolitical tensions and the subsequent consequences for the ruble exchange rate and inflation. Few had expected such drastic increases in exchange rates, though the Russian central bank has stated that if geopolitical tensions continue to rise, so will interest rates. (Financial Times)

Europe’s Banking Union faces Legal Challenge in Germany
German constitutional courts are set to examine the legalities of Europe’s banking union. This move threatens to reignite legal uncertainty over the responses to the Eurozone crisis, and highlights the views of Eurosceptic German economists. Sceptics argue that the banking union is illegal and that the European Central Bank has been given more power than allowed under current European treaty. (Financial Times)

Europeans urge US to Push Power Button on Trade Deal
Europe has long been facing an energy crisis, as shale oil and gas booms elsewhere have given European businesses concerns about their international competitiveness and rising energy costs. As transatlantic negotiations continue, energy remains an important chapter of TTIP, but one that is proceeding slowly. Energy has been a point of some contention between the two regions, as the EU is pushing for a dedicated chapter, while US officials argue it can be dealt with in pieces. (Financial Times)

Recent Analysis

“Un Café Con”…Peter Rashish and John Melle on Atlantic Council’s Global Trade in the Americas Initiative
Following last week’s launch of “Bridging the Pacific”, by the Atlantic Council, the Latin American Center met with Peter Rashish, the author of the report, and John Melle, Assistant US Trade Representative for the Western Hemisphere to discuss the report’s recommendations. As part of their new video series “Un café con…,” the Latin America Center interviewed the two experts on the future of Latin America-US trade ties, as well as the role of the Trans-Pacific Partnership in promoting prosperity across the region. Both interviewees stressed the depth of the already existing relationship between the Americas, the positive effect that TPP would have for SMEs, and the chance to promote a global economy based on the right kind of rules for the future.
Watch the interview with Peter Rashish here.
Watch the interview with John Melle here.

The Export-Import Bank’s Vital Role in Supporting US Traded Sector Competitiveness
The Export-Import Bank, as the official export credit agency of the US, plays a vital role in fostering competitiveness and exports. However, the bank is under attack from both an ideological and a special interest perspective. Many oppose the bank due to its perceived ‘crony capitalism’ mentality, while others argue that the bank distorts the market giving loans at reduced rates. Proponents argue that Ex-Im has never been more vital to the economy, especially as emerging economies are rising to compete globally, with their own export credit agencies playing increasingly important roles. (Information Technology and Innovation Foundation)

India Torpedoes the Bali Trade Facilitation Deal
India has decided against signing implementation protocols arising out of the WTO Ninth Ministerial Conference in Bali last December. While India’s position on the agreement has not been made official, concerns are rising about the implications India’s refusal will have. The Bali package comprised a series of binding agreements to facilitate trade–primarily designed to assist poorer countries. India’s refusal to implement the agreement could have far reaching negative consequences for broader multilateral trade policy and the future relevance of the WTO. (Bruegel)

Economic Statecraft Redux
Gregory Hicks and Robert Pollard look at the role of economics in foreign policy, and specifically analyze the role the US Department of State can play in US foreign economic policy-making. They argue that international economic policy can and should support both domestic growth and foreign policy objectives, and that foreign and economic policy have become inextricably linked in recent years. (CSIS)
Watch the webcast of the launch event here.

Top 5 Trade – All you need to know for the Italian EU Presidency
In this short video, Lénaïc Vaudin d’Imécourt, the Trade Editor of EU Trade Insights, explains the top five trade priorities that have been picked by the Italian Presidency, namely the finalization of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between the EU and Canada, the deepening of negotiations in the TTIP agreement, advancement in the Doha Development Agenda, debates on the modernization of the EU’s trade defense instruments, and on the reciprocal access to the EU public procurement market. (ViEUws)

‘Three Arrows’ to Put Eurozone back on Target
Interventions and accommodative monetary policy has saved the euro thus far, but the poor performance of the Eurozone brings up remaining challenges for the region. Andreas Utermann of the Financial Times argues the need for three policy arrows to put the Eurozone back on track: the continuation of accommodative monetary policy, a more concerted round of pension, labor market, and tax reforms, and a program of substantial investment in infrastructure, particularly in Germany. (Financial Times)

Upcoming Events

Crafting Economic Policy at State – July 29 in Washington hosted by CSIS with Catherine Novelli, US Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment – More Information (video available)
Growing the Development Dividend: A Conversation with US Trade Representative Michael Froman – July 29 in Washington hosted by the Brookings Institute – More Information (video available)
Roundtable on Mega-regionals and the WTO – July 29 in Geneva hosted by the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development – More Information (video available)
Beyond Rhetoric: How the US can Help Enhance European Energy Security– July 30 in Washington hosted by the American Security Project – More Information