Kerry at MSC
US Secretary of State John Kerry spoke at the annual Munich Security Conference this week.

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In Focus

Top ten myths about TTIP
Photo Credit: European Commission
With the next round (12th round) of TTIP negotiations just around the corner, media coverage on TTIP will be plenty next week. In order for you to be able to separate the myths from the facts, check out this great, concise summary by the European Commission.

Speeches & Announcements

Remarks from John Kerry at the 2016 Munich Security Conference

Nothing in TTIP – T-TIP – nothing requires Europe to reduce or undo important regulations or weaken existing standards. T-TIP can showcase the dynamism of our form of democracy, of our marketplace, of free markets, and demonstrate the preeminence in the global conversation about the economic standards and the defense of free trade. – Secretary of State, John Kerry

In his speech at the annual Munich Security Conference last week, Secretary of State John Kerry spoke sharply against Russia’s “repeated aggression” in Ukraine and Syria, and praised Europe for remaining steadfast in their application of sanctions.  He went on to say that concluding TTIP will mean to continue the unparalleled transatlantic economic partnership and stands for high standards and the defense of free trade. (US Department of State)


Ambassador Michael Froman at the Munich Security Conference: Time for Action: T-TIP and Global Leadership

T-TIP provides a potential opportunity for Europe at a time when the headlines are replete with challenges. By getting T-TIP done, we can show the world that a more ambitious model of growth is possible and enjoy the strategic benefits that result from exercising economic leadership. Now is the time. After making steady progress for more than two and a half years, we have the opportunity to bring these negotiations to a successful close. – US Trade Representative, Michael Froman

Speaking at the Munich Security Conference last week, US Trade Representative Michael Froman talked about the importance of transatlantic unity in the face of seismic shifts in the global order. Besides the obvious economic opportunities of TTIP, the more important benefit of TTIP is the strategic value in being leaders of a new, rule-based global trading system. He emphasized that TTIP negotiations can be concluded under the Obama Administration. (Office of the US Trade Representative)


Remarks by Ambassador Michael Froman at the Bavarian Parliament

Out of the almost 50 million SMEs in the United States and Europe, only a small fraction engage in trade across the Atlantic. We should be doing more to help our SME exporters succeed because we know that they tend to grow faster, hire more, pay better, and are more resilient during economic downturns.” – US Trade Representative, Michael Froman

US Trade Representative Michael Froman touched on the potential benefits of TTIP from long-term economic growth to strategic value in his speech at the Bavarian Parliament.  But in a region of Germany where SMEs account for three quarters of employment, he gave particular attention to how TTIP will benefit SMEs. He stressed that now is the time to conclude TTIP negotiations and show leadership,  so as to not sit on the sidelines and let others define the rules of the road.  (Office of the US Trade Representative)



European Union Urges United States to “Step Up” on Free Trade Talks

At a press conference in Brussels on Saturday, European Agricultural Commissioner Phil Hogan emphasized the urgent need to conclude a “comprehensive and balanced” TTIP soon but maintained that he would not accept a “TTIP-lite”. Referencing comments made by White House spokesman John Earnest about the prospect of the deal not being completed during the Obama administration, Hogan urged the “United States to step up to the plate, to acknowledge that we have to make some serious moves in the short space of time or otherwise it will confirm what the White House spokesman said.” (EUobserver)

12th Round of EU-US Trade Talks to Focus on Regulatory Cooperation

The next round of TTIP negotiations will take place from February 22 to the 26 in Brussels.  All three pillars of the agreement, namely market access for EU and US firms, regulatory cooperation, and rules of trade, will be discussed.  However, regulatory cooperation will be in the spotlight as both sides are bringing new text to the table on the nine economic sectors that were identified at the onset of negotiations. (European Commission)

European Union Defends TTIP Investor Court After German Backlash

The European Commission defended its proposed alternative to the Investor- State- Dispute-Settlement (ISDS), the Investor Court System (ICS), which they insist was misunderstood by German magistrates who claimed it was unlawful earlier this month.  A Commission spokesman said, “It does not rule on member state law or EU law, and hence the ICS in no way alters the established court system within the EU.” Negotiations on the investment chapter are due to resume in the next round of TTIP negotiations next week.(EUobserver)

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Recent Analysis

TTIP is a “Must” for the Entire European Union

Przemyslaw Ruchlicki, writing for Emerging Europe, contends that if the European Union is to continue growing economically, it needs a “levée en masse” of entrepreneurs and consumers.Ruchlicki foresees developing Asian markets as the area to find new consumers for growing European ventures, and TTIP as the optimal route to tap in to American expansion in the region.  Furthermore, Ruchlicki condemns the pervasive anti-TTIP rhetoric in Europe as “common hackneyed jingles” that “arouse emotions, but they have nothing to do with TTIP.” (Emerging Europe

VIDEO: The European Parliament Trade Priorities for 2016

EU Trade Insights’ reporter Joanna Sopinska interviews Chair of the European Parliament’s International Trade Committee (INTA), Bernd Lange, about the trade priorities of the Dutch Presidency. At the top of the priorities list is promoting sustainable global value chains, as about 70% of global trade is linked to global value chains. Lange also talks about the sensitive issue of granting market economy status to China and foresees problems if the European Union moves in that direction without improving its trade defense instruments. While he is positive that CETA can be ratified in 2016, he is more cautious about a TTIP agreement by the end of 2016. (viEUws)

France and EU Trade Policy – No Longer the “Non” Sayer 

Iana Dreyer contributes to Euractiv about a report from France’s Secretary of State for Trade, Matthias Fekl, outlining France’s priorities in global trade. The report emphasizes France’s SME environment becoming more involved in global value chains, among other priorities. However, the real importance of the report is that it is the first official French comprehensive trade strategy in a long time, and shows a shift for the government to be more forward looking and pragmatic, and more focused on the government’s export promotion activities, especially TTIP.  (Euractiv)

The TransPacific Partnership – News & Analysis

Ambassador Froman Gives Remarks on the TPP at Stanford University, Unveils Report on Groundbreaking Digital Economy Benefits 

TPP promotes the free flow of data across borders and prohibits forced localization of server capacity, prevents forced tech transfer and includes provisions to combat the theft of trade secrets, and requires countries to adopt and maintain enforceable consumer protections, including for privacy.” – Mike Froman

United States Trade Representative Mike Froman underscored the economic and foreign policy strong points of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a centerpiece of the Obama Administration’s economic and foreign policy agenda, and released a new report on the unprecedented digital economy provisions in the agreement at an even at Stanford University earlier this week. (Office of the United States Trade Representative)

The new report on the digital economy can be found here.


TPP Offers Opportunity for China to Accelerate Reforms

Edwin Lai Lun-Cheung, Economics professor at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, writing for EJ Insight, weighs in on how the TPP can be a catalyst for internal reforms in China.  According to the chief economist of the People’s Bank of China’s research department, Ma Jun, China could lose up to 2.2% of its GDP if it remains outside of the trade agreement. Although many think the TPP is a political tool to isolate China, Lun-Cheung says this view is false, and points to China’s WTO membership since 2011 accelerating internal reforms. (EJ Insight)

The Trans-Pacific Partnership: Deepening US Commitment to Asia

Alexandra Viers, writing for The Cipher Brief, talks about the importance of the TPP as a foundation of Obama’s “Pivot to Asia” strategy.  Although there is a projected economic benefit for America from the agreement, major proponents of the TPP say that its importance cannot be measured in primarily financial projections, but in the influence it will exert as it provides a framework for a global trading system built on American values. (The Cipher Brief)
fact sheet on US-ASEAN Relations can be found on the White House website.

The Bigger Picture – Trade in Action

Bank of Japan Launches Negative Interest Rates to Fight Deflation

The Bank of Japan (BoJ) enacted their plan to introduce a negative interest rate of -0.1%, which they proposed on January 29. The negative interest rate is meant to spur lending at a time when the slowdown in emerging markets in the region, namely China, are beginning to affect Japan’s economic recovery efforts.  Finance Minister Taro Aso said, “It is expected to have a positive effect on consumption and investment and bring changes to ways of managing funds, which have shifted one-sidedly to deposits and savings.” (The Japan Times)

Second Annual Report on the Implementation of the EU-Columbia/Peru Free Trade Agreement

This week the European Commission submitted its report to the European Parliament and the Council analyzing the effects of the now two year old EU-Columbia/Peru FTA.  Despite an overall economic slowdown in Latin America and the global drop in commodity prices, the FTA is proving quite successful. In general, trade in both directions of products liberalized under the agreement have increased, and a significant percentage of companies exporting for the first time are SMEs. (European Commission)

Upcoming Events

What is Europe’s Role in Today’s Globalized World? – February 19, with EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malström and French Secretary of State for Foreign Trade Matthias Fekl, at the Edgar Faure Amphitheater at the University of Paris-Dauphine – More Information 
*EACCNY Economic Update: Newsmaker with the ECB’s Vìtor Constâncio – February 19, hosted by the European American Chamber of Commerce New York, with ECB VP & Memeber of the Executive Board, Vìtor Constâncio and moderated by President and Editor-in-Chief of Reuters Steven Adler, at Thomson Reuters in New York – More Information
CETA, TTIP, Who Profits? – February 22, hosted by the Chamber of Labour for Vienna European Commission and the Austrian Society for European Politics, with EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malström, at the AK Bildungszentrum Great Hall, Vienna – More Information 
TTIP Stakeholder Engagement – February 24, hosted by the Directorate General for Trade of the European Commission, at the 12th round of TTIP negotiations in Brussels – More Information 
Britain, the EU and Global Trade – February 25, hosted by the Policy Network, with EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malström and French Secretary of State for Foreign Trade Matthias Fekl, in London –More Information 
Beyond Safe Harbor: Bridging the Transatlantic Privacy Divide – February 26, hosted by Passcode from the Christian Science Monitor, with EU Ambassador David O’Sullivan, at K&L Gates in Washington, DC – More Information
Opportunities and Potential of TTIP – February 29, 2016; hosted by the Bavarian Trade Union in Passau, Germany – More Information 
Newsmaker with Jyrki Katainen, European Commission Vice President – March 1, hosted by the European American Chamber of Commerce New York, with EC VP for Jobs, Growth, Investment & Competitiveness, Jyrki Katainen, at SUNY Global Center in New York – More Information
A Road Map for European Growth with European Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen – March 2, 2016; hosted by the Atlantic Council in Washington DC- More Information  
Interdisciplinary Conference on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – March 14 and 15, hosted by the Centre for European Research at the University of Gothenburg, in Gothenburg, Sweden –More Information
The next round of TTIP negotiations will take place the week of February 22, in Brussels.