TTIP & Trade in Action – May 11, 2016

Merkel Says Working for US – EU Trade Deal this Year
Ahead of the G-7 Summit in Japan later this month, Japanese Prime Minister Abe visited German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin. The two leaders held a press conference after their private meeting, during which Chancellor Merkel said, “we will do everything possible to negotiate the transatlantic agreement this year.” – (Reuters)

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In Focus

Last Call for TTIP
This week the Atlantic Council’s Global Business & Economics Program published the paper “Last Call for TTIP – The Views of European Diplomats in Washington DC as part of its ongoing EuroGrowth Initiative. The publication analyzes the views of the ambassadors of the 28 EU member states’ as well as the EU Delegation.

The authors of this publication, Andrea Montanino, Director of the Global Business & Economics Program, and Marie Kasperek, Assistant Director the Global Business & Economics Program, call for a concerted effort from the public sector, as well as from the private sector, to inform and educate the European public about the benefits of TTIP. Organizing regional and local debates, leveraging blogs and social media outlets such as Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram could help make the potential benefits of TTIP for the average citizen more widely known. Public support will be essential for successful ratification through the legislative bodies of the European Union and its member states. (Atlantic Council)


Speeches & Annoucements

TTIP Role in Bolstering Energy Security and Markets and Combating Energy Vulnerabilities

“The Council recognized T-TIP’s potential to foster free trade in energy and low carbon technologies by diminishing trade and investment restrictions, promoting cooperation and regulatory coherence, and enhancing transparency.”

The seventh US-European Union Energy Council met last week in Washington, DC, chaired by US Secretary of State John Kerry, US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, EU High Representative/Vice President Federica Mogherini, European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic, and European Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete. The Energy Council, a forum on US-EU energy priorities, promotes transparent, open and secure global energy markets; fosters policy and regulatory cooperation on efficient and sustainable energy use; and pursues joint research and development on clean energy and energy efficiency technologies. 

The Council recognized the potential for TTIP to improve cooperation on technical regulations, standards, and conformity assessment, while protecting the rights of their respective governments to regulate to ensure secure, viable, efficient, open, and competitive energy markets, and high levels of health, safety, and environmental protection. (US Department of State)



Malmström Concerned About Public Perception of TTIP

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström is concerned of the public perception of TTIP. According to Malmström, a major part of the problem is lack of support from European heads of state.  She addressedFrench President Hollande’s critical comments of last week by saying ”I note that it’s the beginning of a general election campaign in France and then it’s always fashionable to hit trade issues… But the French government has not in any way asked us to suspend the negotiations. This criticism was never brought to us in any way.”  (EurActiv)

Moscow Wary of TTIP Talks

Russia’s ambassador to the European Union, Vladimir Chizhov, told POLITICO in late April that “[the Russians] are watching the [TTIP] debate closely.”  Beyond that, Chizhov indicated that Russia is actively trying to attract European nations to the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and away from TTIP. The Atlantic Council’s Executive VP, Damon Wilson, said, “[TTIP] creates an inevitability… that the Russians will have to play by US and EU rules,” and  US Ambassador to the EU, Anthony Gardner, bluntly stated “what we do know is that the Kremlin hates this deal,” highlighting the value of the deal from a security perspective. (POLITICO)

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Recent Analysis

Greenpeace Leak Creates Confusion, Not Clarity, on TTIP

Danielle Leopold interviews the Atlantic Council’s Director and Assistant Director of the Global Business & Economics Program, Andrea Montanino and Marie Kasperek, about Greenpeace’s leak of TTIP negotiating documents last week. They think that the leak has added to the confusion among the public over the agreement. According to Montanino, “There is a need for better communication, not more transparency.” Kasperek underlines this statement “The only thing the leaks do is weaken the European negotiating position. It is not an outcome, TTIP is not written.” (Atlantic Council)

Is TTIP a Threat or an Opportunity?

United Kingdom’s Labour MP for Caephilly, David Wayne, writes an op-ed for the New Statesman, examining the controversial aspects of TTIP. Wayne distinguishes between the fears and the realities of the deal, and reminds readers that the leaked documents last week were negotiating positions of both parties and not a final draft. Calling for an open-minded discussion on the deal he poignantly writes, “It is of course impossible to come to a definitive conclusion about these provisions because the negotiations are ongoing. But it would surely be unwise to assume that the final agreement would inevitably be problematic.” (New Statesman)

TTIP: Underlining the Importance of Digital Trade

Director of European Affairs at the US Chamber of Commerce, Garrett Workman, wrote an article this week making the case for a dedicated digital trade chapter in TTIP.  E-commerce is already the fastest growing sector of the economies included in TTIP, and further integration into the business operations in all industries is inevitable. TTIP should be at the forefront of creating substantial enforceable laws on data flows, digital services, and e-commerce.  (US Chamber of Commerce)

Free Tradeoffs: TTIP is Flawed–  But Necessary

Given that exiting globalization is not an option for Europe or the United States, opponents of TTIP on both sides of the Atlantic need to look at the bigger picture to understand the importance of the deal. Michael Sauga makes this point in his article for Der Spiegel this week and reminds German critics of TTIP that despite some issues that need to be resolved, it is time for Europeans to get on board, or they risk being left behind- politically as well as economically. (Der Spiegel)

The TransPacific Partnership – News & Analysis

The TPP: Key Provisions and Issues for Congress

Earlier  last week, the Congressional Research Service issued its latest report on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), evaluating its key provisions and issues for Congress. The report concludes that while Congress debates potential implementing legislation, the TPP has a wide and complex set of issues to consider, as it’s potential influence spans from economic to security and strategic considerations. (Congressional Research Service)

Trans-Pacific Partnership Legislation Passes its First Hurdle in New Zealand

Earlier today in New Zealand, the TPP  legislation has passed its first hurdle with support from National, Act, United Future – and one Labour MP. The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement Amendment Bill will now be considered by the Foreign Affairs Defence and Trade Committee, after passing its first reading 62 to 59. It was opposed by Labour, the Green Party, New Zealand First and the Maori Party. However, Labour MP Phil Goff voted for the TPP. Trade Minister Todd McClay welcomed today’s vote. (NZ Hearald)

The Bigger Picture – Trade in Action

Federica Mogherini’s Message on Europe Day 2016

High Representative for the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini, addressed the citizens of the European Union, discussing the threats facing the Union.  To her, greater than the threat of terrorism, is the threat of the collapse of the Union.  As the freest and wealthiest continent in the world, Mogherini calls on Europeans to be proud of their integration project and support reforms for improve it, not to tear it apart. On hertwitter account, Mogherini stresses TTIP’s importance for Europe’s safety and security. (New Europe)

Statement by the United States at the Informal Meetings of the WTO Heads of Delegation

On May 9 an informal meeting between the WTO Heads of Delegation was held to take stock of current issues facing the organizations five months after the Nairobi conference. The US representative presented three areas that a ripe for potential progress: The conclusion of the Environmental Goods Agreement by the G20 meeting in China scheduled for September; the decrease of fish subsidies that encourage illegal fishing or overfishing; and the use of trade for development, particularly in regard to SMEs and digital trade. (United States Trade Representative)

Viewpoint: Why Free Trade is Critical… And so are Global Trade Partnerships 

Professor of Finance at Notre Dame University, Jeffrey Bergstrand, writes an op-ed for the South Bend Tribune this week looking at how global free trade has benefited the United States’ and the world economy. Although there are winners and losers in increased free trade, just as there are with technological advances, the 2016 presidential candidates calling TTIP and the TPP “bad trade deals” fail to recognize how important they are for the United States’ future. (South Bend Tribune)

Upcoming Events

TTIP: Balanced Agreement – May 13, hosted by European Commission Representation in Poland, at the Institute of Political Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences, in Warsaw – More Information 
2016 Intensive Trade Semiar: Spring Session Deep Dive-One Day Course – May 13, hosted by the Washington International Trade Association (WITA), in Washington, DC – More Information
Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement Briefing – May 17, hosted by the Canberra Chamber and Australian Capital Territory Government, and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, in Canberra, Australia – More Information
Opportunities and Potential of TTIP – May 30, hosted by the Bavarian Industry Association (vbw), in Bad Staffelstein, Germany – More Information
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Image: Photo Source: The Japan Times