TTIP&TRADE in Action – September 1, 2016

TTIP Negotiations Remain on Track

It is September and “back to reality” for both sides of the Atlantic- we hope you had a nice summer break. Both Europe and the United States have a busy calendar for the remainder of the year- and so do TTIP and TPP. 

Earlier this week, TTIP made headlines with allegations by French Minister of State for Foreign Trade Matthias Fekl and French President Francois Hollande that the European Union should halt trade talks with the United States, and German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel claiming that TTIP negotiations have “de facto failed.” 

To understand the reasoning behind these statements it is important to note that both Germany and France will have elections in 2017 – Gabriel’s statement comes right before elections in Berlin and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. More important than understanding the reasoning behind these allegations, however, are the reactions to them: by business representatives, European leaders, and TTIP negotiators on both sides who all strongly endorse the continuance of the negotiations – i.e. Chancellor Merkel immediately reinforced her support for TTIP. 

So, while we do not claim that the negotiators are up to an easy task to conclude negotiations (this year), TTIP has certainly not failed. For a more realistic assessment of where we stand and which key issues still remain, please give this excellent analysis by Michael McKeon from the Bertelsmann Foundation a read. 


Speeches & Announcements 

EU Trade Commissioner Addresses TTIP Concerns

 “I do not agree that TTIP negotiations have failed. Many countries have contacted us today to ask questions and say that they don’t agree with the French. So there will be a debate on these issues.”
In response to the recent allegations by several media outlets that TTIP negotiations would be halted, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström informed a group of reporters in Brussels that TTIP negotiations have not failed and several countries have reached out in agreement. (Reuters)
US Trade Representative Responds to TTIP Critique
“I don’t share Minister Gabriel’s perspective…In a trade negotiation, nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to. You don’t measure progress by how many chapters have been finalized but on whether the two sides are finding solutions across the board.”

In an interview with German newspaper Der Spiegel, US Trade Representative Michael Froman provides insight regarding the current state of TTIP negotiations. According to Ambassador Froman, German Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Sigmar Gabriel’s recent criticism of TTIP is an inaccurate measuring of the trade negotiations’ success. (Spiegel Online International)



EU Commission Insists TTIP Is Alive and Well
In a speech given August 29, Chief Spokesperson of the EU Commission Margaritis Schinas maintains the position that the European Commission is ready to finalize TTIP by the end of the year. Further supporting this notion is the desire of the United States to finalize the deal before the Obama Administration leaves the White House. The video of Chief Spokesperson Schimas’ speech in link. (EurActiv)

For more analysis on this, browse through The Parliament Magazine’s “TTIP: EU and US insist talks are ‘making steady progress'”

Hoyer Would Regret If TTIP Does Not Advance
European Investment Bank president Werner Hoyer shares three critical reasons for why he would regret it if TTIP did not advance: setting standards together with the United States would be useful, the European Union must seek and protect its place in global competition, and the European Union’s public infrastructure needs more investments. (NASDAQ)
EU, Germany Counter Reports of US Trade Talk Failure
Both the European Union’s lead negotiator in trade talks with the United States and the spokesman for Germany’s leader on Monday downplayed assertions that TTIP negotiations have collapsed but instead insist that negotiations are steadily progressing. With a trade deal of this size, discussions are expected to take a long time, but talks have now entered a crucial stage. (NY Times)

TTIP Action Partners

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Recent Analysis

For a US Trade Deal, UK Should Secure Its Spot in TTIP After Brexit
Marianne Schneider-Petsinger with Chatham House analyzes the benefits of including the United Kingdom within the scope of TTIP, as well as the obstacles TTIP negotiators could face should the United Kingdom be included. Including the United Kingdom would allow TTIP to maintain its large scale, but untangling the UK-EU trade relationship amid TTIP negotiations could prove difficult. (Chatham House)
German Minister of Economy in The Crossfire of Criticism
According to Parliament Managing Director of Union Group Michael Grosse-Brömer, German Minister of Economic Affairs and Energy Sigmar Gabriel’s remarks that TTIP is dead are inappropriate and devastating to the deal negotiations. He accuses Gabriel of having flip flopped on TTIP and insists that the minister should not be swayed by economic hostile moods. – Original article in German- (Handelsblatt)
US Trade Expert: TTIP is on Hold, Not Dead
During an interview with German international broadcaster Deutsche Welle, senior fellow from the Peterson Institute Caroline Freund indicated TTIP talks have not ended, rather discussions have hit an impasse. According to Freund, Brexit on the EU-side and TPP on the US-side are to credit for the impasse. (Deutsche Welle)

TransPacific Partnership – News & Analysis

Japanese Prime Minister Has A Lot at Stake in The TPP
Senior Vice President at the Albright Stonebridge Group Eric Altbach asserts that Japan needs TPP to stimulate growth. Although Japan is in discussion with China, India, and 13 other Asia-Pacific countries on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, that deal is not seen as a good substitute for TPP. (Politico Morning Trade)
Approval Possible For TPP, Says The White House
While US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell indicates the Senate would not vote on TPP this year, the White House not only believes it is still possible to win congressional approval of TPP before the Obama Administration leaves the White House, but insists it is essential in order to avoid undermining US leadership in Asia. (The Straits Times)

The Bigger Picture – Trade in Action

Video: Five Reasons to Support CETA
In a recent video, Ambassador of Canada to the European Union Daniel J. Costello describes five major reasons to support the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. Among other things, he highlights the strategic importance of such a trade deal and the need for a progressive trade agenda. (Youtube)
China and US Trade Discussions Are Moving Forward
Despite challenges within the global trade environment, including the United States imposing anti-dumping and countervailing duties on Chinese products, Reuters reports for Fortune that China and the United States are still frequently in discussion to engage in a bilateral trade pact. This bilateral pact would be separate from both the United States’ trade deal with countries in the Asia Pacific and China’s trade discussions with this region. (Fortune)
Obama Administration Has Successfully Improved US-Asia Relations
Michael H. Fuchs, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, indicates that while the United States’ relationship with Asian countries took a backseat to center on terrorism prior to the Obama Administration, President Barack Obama has managed to re-balance the United States’ focus on Asia, specifically China. Fuchs credits this as a major success for the Administration because cooperation between the United States and China is of critical importance. (New Republic)

Upcoming Events

Europe Today and Tomorrow: Preparing for The Next 25 Years – A Discussion with Klaus Welle, Secretary General of the European Parliament – September 1, in Washington – More Information
Reflections on Progress: Essays on The Global Political Economy – September 12, in Washington – More Information
Discussion with Four Former USTRs, Trade Agreements and American Interests – September 12, in Washington – More Information
Can The European Project Survive?  September 14, in Washington – More Information
Conference: EU Trade Agreements in Practice – Making Trade Work for You– September 22 in Bratislava, hosted by the European Commission – More Information 
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