Yesterday, delegations from the European Commission and Office of the US Trade Representative met for the start of the initial round of official TTIP negotiations here in Washington.

Despite the calls of some in Europe to delay the talks after it was revealed that the US National Security Agency had been spying on some European embassies and EU buildings, the talks begin on time and on schedule. The trade talks are now being joined by a sideline transatlantic data privacy effort to help restore trust among the negotiating partners.

Corresponding with the official launch of negotiations, I’m happy to announce that TTIP Action is now on Twitter, with quick updates and analysis of the latest developments in the transatlantic economy. You can follow us @TTIPAction.

As always, we look forward to your feedback and commentary, and please do not hesitate to be in touch with any suggested articles, speeches, or upcoming events.

Speeches and Official Announcements

Time to Get Down to Business on Transatlantic Trade
European Commissioner for Trade Karel De Gucht makes his case for TTIP and securing a wide-ranging agreement quickly. 


White House Set for Wall Street Clash Over Trade Talks | Financial Times
The Obama administration has a tough week ahead as TTIP negotiations begin with several issues already poised to spark intense debate. Added to the growing list of disagreements involving cultural exceptions, agriculture, and data privacy is Washington’s refusal to include financial services regulation in the trade deal talks. Much to the chagrin of both Wall Street and EU negotiators, the White House remains concerned that including a framework for financial regulatory convergence will be used by banks to circumvent US rules established its landmark Dodd-Frank financial reform law. 

German Business Leaders Will Have to Fight for Trade Deal in Washington | The Hill
For TTIP to succeed, the business community will have to actively demonstrate the benefits of securing a transatlantic trade agreement to politicians on both sides of the Atlantic. In order for TTIP to gain political traction on Capitol Hill, business leaders and public interest groups must show in concrete terms the gains to be had from increased trade with Europe—and natural leaders of that conversation are the German investors who are already employing hundreds of thousands of Americans here in the US.

Negotiations on Free Trade Between Europe and the United States Start | Bousier
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations began as scheduled, despite the cloud of distrust and frustration hanging over the start of the trade talks due to the recent revelations of widespread spying by the US government. The environment had soured to the point that French President François Hollande initially suggested postponing the start by 15 days. Text in French.

Recent Analysis

Talks over a huge US-Europe trade deal start this week. Here’s what you need to know. | Washington Post 
Lydia Depillis answers some of the essential TTIP questions that will be on everyone’s mind. Even if you are well acquainted with TTIP, this is a comprehensive reference for interpreting the oncoming trade negotiations.

The Free Trade Agreement Between Europe and the US – What is it? | FranceTV
FranceTV offers a breakdown on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership as officials negotiations are set to begin this week. Providing a concise review of the need for the agreement, its agenda, and its difficulties, this summary utilizes French sources and opinion to highlight the important issues that will be discussed this week. Text in French.

PRISM Policy Paper: Ripping into TTIP? Debates Surrounding the Upcoming EU-US Negotiations | The Polish Institute of International Affairs
A new paper by the Polish Institute of International Affairs discusses the possible outcomes of the transatlantic trade deal, the probably areas of conflict that will develop during negotiations, and the need for political support if the talks are to be successful, particularly given the recent spats over data privacy. 

Obama’s Spying Has Made a European Trade Deal Even Harder | Financial Times
François Heisbourg notes in his piece for the Financial Times that while governments spying on one another may be commonplace, the timing and setting of this recently exposed act of espionage sets it apart. The political consequences of the NSA’s spying on European governments may have made the TTIP free trade agreement a political bridge too far for many in Europe. 

EU-Canada Stalemate Cautionary Tale for Transatlantic Trade Deal | Financial Times
Joshua Chaffin for the Financial Times reminds us about the ‘other’ transatlantic trade deal that is itself four years in the making. Though smaller in size and scope, Canada and the EU find themselves still negotiating a trade deal very similar to the nascent TTIP. Their inability to reach a final agreement should temper the expectations of those beginning the exercise in Washington today.

EU-US Trade: A Tale Of Two Farms | NPR
NPR’s Jackie Northam and Eleanor Bearsley investigate the EU and US agriculture industries. This is the sector where EU and US have perhaps the most deeply seated cultural and political differences. Reaching a TTIP agreement has the potential to drastically change policies on either side of the Atlantic.