Montanino, Katainen, Barroso
On Wednesday, March 2, the Atlantic Council hosted European Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen and former EC President José Manuel Barroso to discuss a road map for European growth.

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Yesterday, the Atlantic Council launched the EuroGrowth Initiative, which aims to promote a deepened EU-US partnership and build a path for long term growth together. Yesterday’s event featured European Commission Vice President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, Jyrki Katainen, and former European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, who spoke about the current state of affairs of the European economy and the achievements of the European Commission’s Investment Plan roughly 6 months after its implementation, and the importance of TTIP for transatlantic economic growth.

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In Focus

This week’s EconoGraphic published by the Atlantic Council’s Global Business & Economics Program displays how TTIP will spur trade and investment on both sides of the Atlantic by granting market access for EU and US firms, reducing tariffs and regulatory barriers. However, most of the TTIP economic gains will come from lowering Non-Trade Barriers (NTBs), which include a range of regulations like quotas, special licenses, bureaucratic delays at customs and other technical restrictions. (Atlantic Council)

Speeches & Announcements

12th Round of TTIP Talks Picks up the Pace for a High Standard Deal

Our goal in T-TIP – which makes it one of the most ambitious trade agreement in history – is to bridge, where possible, regulatory divergences and promote greater regulatory compatibility – all without lowering the environmental, health and safety protections that our citizens have come to expect. Public comment and input reinforce the democratic legitimacy of our regulatory systems without diminishing parliamentary control over those processes.” – US Chief Negotiator Dan Mullaney

“So let me finish by underlining that we aim to continue throughout the coming months the hard work that has been done by our teams this week.This should enable us to make solid, steady progress in the coming months towards the ambitious, balanced agreement that the EU seeks.” – EU Chief Negotiator Ignacio Garcia Bercero

After the conclusion of the 12th round of TTIP negotiations in Brussels last week, Chief Negotiators Dan Mullaney and Ignacio Garcia Bercero highlighted the significant steps forward that were taken.  Regulatory cooperation was the topic in focus this round, and progress was also made on investment protection and sustainable development, among other things. Additionally, both touched on maintaining the increased speed of negotiations with the goal to have consolidated texts by the summer, while maintaining a strong commitment to transparency of the negotiations. (Office of the United States Trade Representative /European Commission)

Watch the recording of the final press conference and look at the European Commission’s publicationenlisting all negotiation documents related to TTIP published so far.


The President’s Trade Agenda

It is the President’s objective to conclude an ambitious, comprehensive and high-standard T-TIP agreement in 2016. We are pursuing ambitious market openings in goods, services, and investment, and are working to address areas such as regulatory and other nontariff barriers to U.S. exports, increase the participation of SMEs in the transatlantic economy, and address the challenges of trade in the modern digital economy, among other goals.” – President Barack Obama

Earlier this week, President Obama published the 2016 US trade agenda, listing the congressional passage of the Transpacific Partnership as the top priority. In addition, President Obama emphasized that he is committed to concluding an ambitious TTIP in 2016. Together, the TPP and TTIP will help support jobs and strengthen America’s Middle Class, promote US values, shape the global economy, and spur sustainable and inclusive growth. (Executive Office of the President)


Britain, the European Union, and Global Trade

We need to trade. So we need trade agreements. But we can only continue to negotiate them if people agree to move forward.” – Cecilia Malmström 

While TTIP negotiations in Brussels were in full swing last week, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström traveled to London where she gave a lecture at the Policy Network on the benefits of TTIP for British consumers, producers, and SME’s alike. Malmström made clear that TTIP will never be at the expense of European values (i.e. the British NHS) but rather serve as a lever to encourage countries to respect labor rights and protect the environment. She reminded the audience that despite the slowing growth of China and Brazil, globalization is not going away. Rather, the depth of the connections between the European Union and the wider world call for more trade- and hence, trade agreements. (European Commission)



Negotiators Aim to Sign TTIP this Year

After the conclusion of the 12th round of TTIP negotiations in Brussels last week, the negotiators reported that they were making progress towards reaching an accord by the end of the year. Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) remains a hot topic. The European Commission put forward an alternative proposal to the “traditional” ISDS, that would involve setting up a special court to handle such disputes in what Brussels says would be a more transparent way. Mullaney said the US team would take time to appraise the idea but noted that both sides hope TTIP will become a model for trade practices around the world. (Euractiv)

For more detailed statements on ISDS from both negotiators, read this piece by EUObserver.


Brussels Briefing on Trade – All You Need to Know for the First Half of March

EU Trade Insights’ reporter Joanna Sopinska reviews the top trade issues for the first half of this month. While TTIP negotiators met again to exchange public procurement offers at the end of February, EU Trade Commissioner Malmström will take part in the EU-ASEAN Annual Consultations in Thailand on March 3. On March 9, Commissioner Malmström will hold political talks with US officials in Washington DC in a bid to boost TTIP negotiations and to close as many gaps as possible by the August summer break. The week after, members of the European Parliament are to hold an exchange of views on the Commission’s follow-up report, in response to their 2015 TTIP recommendations. (ViEUws)

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Recent Analysis

Five Things to Watch on TTIP

Writing for Politico, Hans von der Burchard lists five issues between US and EU negotiators that need to be resolved for them to reach a deal on TTIP before the end of the Obama administration. Differences in regulatory standards, diverging opinions on Investor-State arbitration, lowering restrictions (such as the “Buy American Act”) for EU companies to enter the US contract market, differing standards in financial services, and the hot topic of “rules of origin”, will be five items to watch on TTIP according to the author. (Politico)

The Opportunity Space of Overlapping Trade Regimes: Turkey, the Customs Union, and TTIP

This Global Policy paper by Catherine Long says TTIP negotiations triggered a critical juncture for Turkey given the agreement’s potential interaction with the Custom Union’s outdated features and hub-and-spoke structure. The author suggests that this juncture provides the Republic with strategic leverage to pursue a review of the Custom’s Union and possible revision, which might facilitate Turkey’s entry into ambitious mega-regional agreements and might contribute to its EU accession process. It also highlights the way in which states may strategically consolidate their particular cases of overlapping preferential trade agreements (PTAs). (Global Policy)

Access the full paper here


The Transpacific Partnership – News & Analysis 

Obama Sets Sights on 2016 TPP Approval, Despite Political Landscape

In their latest trade news issue, the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development sees the ongoing US election process as an important factor looming over the TPP ratification process. The White House has acknowledged that the campaign rhetoric but is still “cautiously optimistic” to get TPP done this year.

In separate, though related, news, President Obama signed into law the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015, last week, after the deal obtained Senate approval earlier this month. The trade enforcement pact, which had been part of a bundle of trade bills – including Trade Promotion Authority – under consideration last year, will entail a major revamping of Washington’s customs law. (International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development)

For more analysis on the influence of the US elections on the fate of TPP, watch this interview with New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key. (Newshub)


Finalizing the TPP: A Critical Step for East Asia

Writing for Aljazeera, J Berkshire Miller opines that aside from ensuring Washington’s economic and strategic interests in the region, ratifying the TPP would provide a much-needed shot in the arm for the Asian states party to it. Apart from the economic gains of TPP, the author thinks that leadership on ratification of the TPP would help to reassure the US network of alliances and key partnerships in the region that the United States intends to maintain a dynamic and multifaceted strategy of engaging in Asia for the long-term. (Aljazeera)

The Bigger Picture – Trade in Action

Restoring Trust in Transatlantic Data Flows through Strong Safeguards: The  EU-US Privacy Shield

On Monday, the European Commission issued the legal texts that will put in place the EU-US Privacy Shield and a Communication summarizing the actions taken over the last years to restore trust in transatlantic data flows since the 2013 surveillance revelations. The Commission has: finalized the reform of EU Data protection rules, negotiated the EU-US Umbrella Agreement ensuring high data protection standards for data transfers across the Atlantic for law enforcement purposes, and achieved a renewed sound framework for commercial data exchange: the EU-US Privacy Shield. (European Commission)

Download the full text of the framework here, read the statement from US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker on the release of EU-US Privacy Shield text here, and find a helpful fact sheet on the framework, compiled by the US Department of Commerce, here


Brexit would Negatively Affect Lives of Millions, Official UK Report Says

According to official government reports by the Cabinet Office, looking into how Brexit would unfold in practice, a decade of uncertainty would hit “financial markets, investment and the value of the pound”. Written by civil servants in the Cabinet Office, the ten years cited in the report includes the time it would take for Britain to exit the European Union, to set up a new trade and related agreements as well as negotiate fresh trade deals with the United States and other countries. (The Guardian)

Please find the official document outlining the process of withdrawing from the European Union as well as its implications for Great Britain here


International Monetary Fund Calls for Urgent Response to Boost Faltering Global Growth

Before a gathering of G20 finance ministers and central bank chiefs in China on 26 February, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) published a report calling for urgent and bold action from world leaders to combat a slowing global economy. The report shows that growth in advanced economies is already lower than expected and cautions that China’s slowdown and the collapse in commodity prices are major headwinds that could derail the global recovery. In addition, financial market turbulence and asset price declines in advanced economies posed additional difficulties. The report calls for coordinated spending from the world’s richest economies to spur global growth. (International Business Times)

CETA: EU and Canada Agree on New Approach on Investment in Trade Agreement

The European Commission and the Canadian Government have agreed to include a new approach on investment protection and investment dispute settlement in the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). The revised CETA text includes a new article which ensures that the right to regulate for public policies is fully preserved. The updated CETA text establishes at the entry into force of the Agreement an Appellate Tribunal. The EU and Canada both share the objective of establishing a permanent multilateral investment court, the text of CETA recognizes that such a multilateral mechanism will come to replace the bilateral mechanism established in CETA. It should be stressed, however, that it cannot decide on matters of EU or Member State law. (European Commission)

Upcoming Events

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
10th Annual Executive Briefing ‘The Transatlantic Economy’ – March 22, hosted by the American Business Forum on Europe, with Senior Fellow at the SAIS Center for Transatlantic, Joseph P. Quinlan, in New York – More Information