Angela Merkel
German Chancellor Angela Merkel gave her support for TTIP on her weekly
podcast on Saturday, January 10. (The Federal Chancellor)

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President Obama Talks TPP in his Final State of the Union Address:
“… we forged a Trans-Pacific Partnership to open markets, and protect workers and the environment, and advance American leadership in Asia.  It cuts 18,000 taxes on products made in America, which will then support more good jobs here in America.  With TPP, China does not set the rules in that region; we do.  You want to show our strength in this new century?  Approve this agreement.  Give us the tools to enforce it.” 
– President Barack Obama

Last night, President Obama gave his final State of the Union Address, elaborating on topics such as the US criminal justice system, immigration, gun violence, health care, unemployment, the state of the economy, innovation, among many others. With regards to trade, he mostly focused on the TPP, which is not surprising given that the conclusion of the TPP negotiations dominated the US public debate on trade for most of 2015. Given his visit to Europe in April, where he will “talk TTIP” with Chancellor Merkel, public debate might gradually shift their focus to TTIP negotiations. 
To read his speech in its entirety, please click here.

Graphic of the Week

1-in-4 Beverages Imported to the US is Made by a Small European Company
Photo Credit: @EU_TTIP_TEAM
To read more about the opportunities for Small and Medium Enterprises in TTIP, check out our Atlantic Council report “Big Opportunities for Small Business” here

Speeches and Announcements

Dealing with Challenges through Global Trade

Europe is a global leader.  We have a responsibility to engage with the world both to improve lives and to provide stability and security.” – Cecilia Malmström

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström continued her campaign through Europe to promote TTIP, speaking at an event to mark the New Year organised by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Karlsrühe, Germany on January 11th.  Commissioner Malmström highlighted how increased trade is beneficial for a stronger Europe and how Europe can be a global leader for promoting development. She also showed how trade can support the response to citizen’s concerns on transparency, security, values, accountability, and strongly advocated for support to implement the EU’s ambitious trade agenda, Trade for All. (European Commission)

To read the full speech, click here.

Chancellor Merkel: How TTIP can be a Role Model

One of the facts of TTIP is that no European standard, existing nor future, will be lowered due to TTIP. I think that the opportunities clearly outweigh the disadvantages in TTIP. That is why I think that TTIP is not only good but can also serve as an example for a prominent role of social and economic standards in future free trade agreements. – Angela Merkel

In her weekly address, Chancellor Merkel talked about the future of the German social market economy in the age of globalization and digitalization. The focus of her legislative period is on innovation and finding ways to bring back investment to Germany. In this light, she talked about the importance of the conclusion of a comprehensive TTIP agreement for the German economy and emphasizes on the role of transparency and rational debate to build trust in the opportunities of the agreement.- Original source in German (The Federal Chancellor)

Commission Malmström: What can Flanders Gain from TTIP and EU Trade Policy in General?

“The US is the largest market in the world after the European Union, with our exports across the Atlantic already support almost 5 million jobs in the EU. 4,700 Belgian companies export to the United States, making it Belgium’s fourth largest trading partner overall – and the first outside the EU.” – Cecilia Malmström

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström spoke at the Foreign Policy and European Affairs Committee of the Flemish Parliament earlier this week.  She pointed out certain sectors in which Antwerp stands to benefit from the TTIP, such as fashion and pharmaceuticals, and talked about the extensive improvements the Commission initiated to increase the transparency of the negotiation process to alleviate concerns about the agreement.(European Commission)

To read the full speech, click here.


United States and European Union Look to Conclude TTIP Talks in 2016

Rosella Brevetti, writing for Bloomberg BNA, talks about how TTIP negotiations may “kick into high gear” in 2016, as both parties look to conclude negotiations in the last year of President Obama’s administration. Despite an uptick in negotiations, neither side will be willing to accept a “TTIP-light”, as US Trade Representative Michael Froman and European Trade Commissioner Ceceilia Malmström look to iron out “endgame” issues including geographical indications, agricultural tariffs, and financial services. The next TTIP round is expected to take place the week of February 22 in Brussels. (Bloomberg BNA)

Merkel Makes the Case for TTIP at Eucken Institute

Freiburg, Germany: At an event in honor of one of the founders of the German Social Market Economy model, Walter Eucken, earlier today, Chancellor Merkel said that she will continue to advocate for a comprehensive TTIP agreement. To her, TTIP is not only about economic gains but rather offers the unique opportunity to spread European standards in human rights, consumer rights, environmental protection, and social standards, internationally. – Original article in German (Die Welt)

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Recent Analysis

The Danger of a Weak Europe

International relations scholar, Joseph Nye, writing for Project Syndicate, discusses how a Europe weakened by a string of crises and internal division is detrimental for both Europe and America.  Refugees, Russian’s incursion into Ukraine, and the threat of the Brexit are all issues contributing to a potential weakening of the European Union.  However, as the two largest economies in the world and the centers of democracy and human rights, it is in the best interest of Europe and America for the EU to remain unified. In this light, he emphasizes the importance of President Obama’s visit to Germany in April to “talk TTIP” with Chancellor Merkel. (Project Syndicate)

Demystifying TTIP

Do you think the TTIP only benefits large corporations, that negotiations are conducted behind closed doors in secret, or that it would force Europeans to import genetically modified food?  Then you might be surprised to learn that TTIP in fact promotes small and medium sized enterprises, is legally obligated to publish negotiation points, and will maintain current food regulation in the European Union and the United States. The Alliance for Responsible Commerce (ARC) separates legitimate public concerns from unfounded assertions and debunks common myths on a wide range of issues. (Alliance for Responsible Commerce)

The Trans-Pacific Partnership – News & Analysis

What a Failed TPP Would Mean for the US Economy

Former US Deputy Trade Negotiator Alan Wolff, writing for Fortune, talks about the economic and political dangers if Congress rejects the TPP after it is signed by President Obama.  Aside from restricting access to some of the worlds fastest growing markets, Wolff highlights how Pacific nations would continue to negotiate their own FTAs, most likely oriented towards China, and how this would result in a lower quality standard of globally traded goods and a reduction of American influence in the region.(Fortune)

A $100 Billion Economic Bump: The Trans-Pacific Partnership’s Not-So-Small Impact

J.D. Harrison writes for the US Chamber of Commerce about the World Bank’s report, which projects that the economic benefit for US participation in the TPP would be roughly equal to .6 percent of US GDP. Although as a percent of GDP the number is small, in gross terms it is roughly equivalent to $100 Billion, which is greater than the  combined net worth of Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, and Larry Page.(US Chamber of Commerce)

TPP Will Help Strengthen Environmental Standards

The Deputy Secretary-General of Malaysia’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Datuk J. Jayasiri, addresses concerns over the environmental impact of the TPP raised by an article published by the Association of Water and Energy Research Malaysia (AWER).  AWERs concern is that upgraded environmental laws will become a barrier to trade for certain products to be sold in Malaysia.  Jayasiri asserts that Malaysia will upgrade its environmental laws to be consistent with the agreement, and that the agreement has chapters to aid small and medium sized enterprises stay competitive in the business environment. (News Straits Times)

The Bigger Picture – Trade in Action

The Top 5 Trade – All You Need to Know about the Dutch EU Presidency

Joanna Sopinska, the Trade reporter for the EU policy broadcaster viEUws, does a special report on what the top 5 trade priorities will be under the new Dutch Presidency.  Trade agreements top the list, as TTIP, the EU-Japan agreement, and CETA are all hoped to be concluded.  Market Economy Status (MES) for China, and regulation on conflict minerals and reform to anti-torture legislation round out the priorities. (viEUws)

US Trade Representative 2015 Year in Review

Tradewinds, the official blog of US Trade Representative, reviews the gains made under President Obama’s trade agenda this year.  2015 was a landmark year that saw the conclusion of TPP negotiations, strengthening of the WTO, enhancement of the Made-in-America exports program, bolstering of the US-Korea FTA, and Trade and Investment Framework Agreements (TIFA) with Armenia, Mongolia, and Indonesia, among other things.  (Tradewinds)

Turkey Moves to Expand Customs Union with EU

Erdinç Çelikkan, writing for Hurriyet Daily News, discusses the revival of negotiations to update the Customs Union between the two, which has been stagnant since 1995. Since then-Economy Minister for Turkey Nihat Zeybekci and EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström announced a framework for updating the Customs Union and Turkey’s Economy in May 2015, Minister Mustafa Elitashope now hopes to be sitting at the negotiating table by September to expand the Customs Union to include 10 new fields, and eventually become involved with TTIP negotiations. (Hurriyet Daily News)

Leaving the EU Would Be Costly for British Farmers, Hogan Says

Bloomberg Business reporter Rebecca Christie talks about EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan’s comments about the effect a “Brexit” would have on British farmers. Hogan mentions the hurdles farmers would face without unrestricted access to the European market, and how difficult it will be for the United Kingdom to negotiate individual trade agreements without EU membership.  (Bloomberg Business)

Upcoming Events

Debating Europe: Why do we Need TTIP? – January 17, 2016, held at the Burg Theater in Vienna – More Information

The Precautionary Principle in TTIP: Trade Barrier or Essential for Consumer Protection? January 26, 2016, hosted by the Trans Atlantic Consumer Dialogue, with EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström, in Brussels – More Information 

TTIP and EU Member States – January 27, 2016, hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce to the European Union (AmCham EU), in Brussels – More Information
The Future Trans-Atlantic Trade – January 28, 2016, hosted by the British American Business Council, with Ambassador of the European Union to the United States David O’Sullivan – More Information
Opportunities and Potential of TTIP – February 29, 2016; hosted by thre Bavarian Trade Union in Passau, Germany – More Information

The Next Round of TTIP Negotiations is expected to take place the week of February 22, in Brussels. Want to refresh your memory on what has been discussed in the 11th round of negotiations? Read the detailed report here or the final day remarks here.