King Willem-Alexander and Martin Schulz
King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands met EP President Martin Schulz
during a visit to Brussels . The Monarch also visited the Council as part
of his country taking over the presidency of the European Council on 
1 January 2016. (European Parliament)

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Did you know?
Every six months a different member state holds the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. In 2016, the Netherlands will hold the Presidency for the twelfth time. The last time was in 2004.Read more about the rotating Council Presidency on the Netherlands’ EU Presidency webpage.

Graphic of the Week 

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 Official Announcements

What Does the Netherlands Want to Achieve during its EU Presidency?
The Netherlands wants the European Union to focus on what matters to Europe’s citizens and businesses.  The priorities are prosperity, freedom and security.” 
The Netherlands’ began its turn as the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union on 1 January 2016. During its presidency, the Netherlands will focus on growth and jobs through innovation, and a Union that connects with civil society. Special attention will be paid to four priority areas, namely migration and international security, Europe as an innovator and job creator, sound finances and a robust Euro zone, and a forward-looking climate and energy policy. These priorities were agreed on by the three presidencies for the period between January 2016 and June 2017, the Netherlands, Slovakia and Malta, the so-called ‘trio’.
(Netherlands EU Presidency 2016)

To read more about the “trio’s” program, click here.


Obama to Meet Merkel, attend Hannover Trade Show in April

The president’s participation – a first for a sitting U.S. president – presents a unique opportunity to showcase American innovation and ingenuity and to highlight the United States as a prime investment destination.” – White House Statement

The White House announced earlier last week that President Obama will travel to Germany in late April to be the first sitting US President to attend the Hannover Messe trade show- the world’s largest trade show for industrial technology- to highlight the United States as a prime investment destination. While in Germany, the President will meet with Chancellor Merkel to advance TTIP negotiations.  Making his fifth visit to Germany during his last year in office highlights the strong relationship between the United States and Germany. (The White House)

TTIP Action Partners

Rigoni di Asiago, a century old family-owned company from Italy, produces delicious, organically farmed and GMO free jams, honeys and chocolate spreads. A family business that, with time, has become an international brand, Rigoni di Asiago is inspired by traditional recipes and supported by continual research and innovation, to achieve the finest and tastiest products that are both good for the consumer and respect nature.

Marsilli is a global manufacturing solutions provider of coil/motor winding and assembly systems for the automotive, appliance, industrial, consumer, and RFID electronics industries.

Recent Analysis

A Strong Transatlantic Relationship on the Basis of TTIP is in the United Kingdom’s Interest

Robert Heslop, author for OneEurope, writes that a comprehensive TTIP would ensure that the European Union and the United States remain at the center of the global economy, at a time when rising powers seek to challenge the current international order. The author further argues that because of the economic and geopolitical opportunities stemming from TTIP, the United Kingdom must not only remain in the European Union but also play a leading role in securing a successful and comprehensive deal between the United States and the European Union. (London School of Economics

No Deal On TTIP? The Big Losers Are Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and Consumers

Writing for the Alliance for Responsible Commerce, Kevin McNamara talks about the  tangible economic benefits from TTIP for entrepreneurs. In order to return to economic growth,  to re-balance regional economies across Europe, and to encourage entrepreneurship, he recommends the United Kingdom to speak out for a free trade deal that works for SMEs and consumers across Europe and the United States. He concludes that the biggest disservice to the start-ups and culture of entrepreneurship within the United Kingdom would be a continuation of the sort of misinformation and scaremongering that has characterized the TTIP debate so far. (Alliance for Responsible Commerce

Boosting Growth and Forming a True Transatlantic Community

James Cicconi, Senior Executive Vice President External and Legislative Affairs for AT&T, writes for New Europe,predicting 2016 to be intense both from a political and from a trade perspective. He insists that given the inherent strength of both the US and the EU economies, the transatlantic community should not accept the low GDP growth rates that have become the new normal.  Both sides should look to the TTIP to improve the global economy and strengthen the transatlantic community, so that both partners can better weather the crises that challenge their political and economic institutions. (New Europe)

The TransPacific Partnership – News & Analysis

Member Countries Aim to Sign Formal Deal in February

Ministers are scheduled to hold a meeting in either New Zealand or the United States in February to finalize the wording of the TPP, paving the way for domestic ratification and approval.  Expansion talks for South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, and some South American nations are on the horizon as well. (Nikkei Asian Review)

TPP would Open Doors for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)

Writing for the Korea Herald, Joel Lee insists that although South Korea initially deferred membership in the TPP, the partnership provides an opportunity for Korean SMEs to shift their focus from domestic to international markets.  Harmonization of standards and reduction of tariffs, combined with a projected economic downturn make the TPP an increasingly attractive option for Korea. (The Korean Herald)

The Bigger Picture – Trade in Action

The Trade Part of the EU – Ukraine Association Agreement becomes operational on 1 January 2016

This month, the European Union and Ukraine will begin applying the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area(DCTFA) that is included in the Association Agreement signed in 2014.  The European Union has programs in place to aid Ukraine through the transition process, which should have economic benefits for both parties. (European Commission)

Leaving the European Union would be a Disaster for Britain.  Business Needs to Speak Up.

With a referendum on European Union membership looming at the end of 2017, the pro-independence camp is capitalizing on proud nationalistic sentiments, but a Brexit could be detrimental for commerce. Sir Victor Blank, former chairman of Lloyds Banking Group and Trinity Mirror, writes that business should not wait to speak out about the effects of losing unrestricted access to European Union member state markets and how that could affect FDI and other funding. Despite some issues that need to be reformed in the European Union, the author warns to not lose sight of the bigger picture.  (The Telegraph)

Upcoming Events

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 
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 Next Round of TTIP Negotiations is scheduled for early 2016. 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.