What We’re Reading: January 14

TTIP Action aggregates the latest news and best analysis from across the United States and European Union on the ongoing negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

Trade Promotion Authority Legislation Introduced on Capitol Hill

Last Thursday, Senate Finance Committee chairman and ranking member Senators Max Baucus (D-MT) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT), alongside House Ways and Means Committee chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) introduced the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act of 2014 which outlines Congress’ intentions for ongoing TTIP and TPP negotiations. This bill, if passed, would grant President Obama the Trade Promotion Authority necessary to negotiate and pass a strong agreement with both the European Union and the Asia-Pacific and Latin American countries that the US is currently engaged with. Moreover, it strengthens the role of Congress by clearly outlining the desired outcomes of the legislature, and requiring an up-or-down vote on the agreements once signed.

You can find out more about the bill from Bloomberg here, and see the Senate Finance Committee’s one-pager explaining the legislation here (PDF).

Speeches & Official Announcements

President Obama’s Bilateral Meeting with President Rajoy of Spain | The White House
President Obama praised Rajoy for the progress of the Spanish economy and both leaders agreed that TTIP will support the enormous potential for increasing trade and investment between their two countries.

Ambassador Froman Talks American Jobs, Trade Outlook for 2014 | Bloomberg
During an interview with Bloomberg News, Froman explains that he is looking forward to working with Congress on Trade Promotion Authority to open markets, raise global standards, and create a level-playing field. (Video)

Statement by US Trade Representative Michael Froman on the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act of 2014 | Office of the United States Trade Representative
US Trade Representative Michael Froman issued a statement supporting the introduction of the Trade Priorities Act, which he argues is necessary to open the US export market, create US jobs, and set the global standard in regulatory policy.

2013 Year In Review: A Look Back at USTR’s Work to Support Jobs and Economic Growth Here at Home | Office of the United States Trade Representative
To support its ambitious 2014 trade agenda, the Office of the United States Trade Representative highlights some of its 2013 successes creating jobs, promoting growth, and strengthening the middle class.


French Senators Strongly Attack EU-US Trade Deal | EurActiv
During a debate on the transatlantic trade agreement in the French Senate, the negotiations faced criticism from a number of political parties, while the French government defended the agreement and its prospective benefits for the French economy, workers, and consumers.

Democrats Prove Barrier for Obama in Quest for Trade Deals | Financial Times
With the introduction of Trade Promotion Authority legislation in both the House and Senate, many Democrats were quick to share their reservations. Critics worry that free trade agreements hurt local workers and that TPA will limit Congress’ voice in negotiations, proving that President Obama has a long way to go to convince his own party of the benefits of his ambitious trade agenda.

Recent Analysis

Will TTIP Harm the Global Trading System? | Yale Global
Although some critics worry that TTIP is too focused on geopolitics, the economic gains and stagnant global trade liberalization efforts justify the EU-US decision to move forward. If executed properly, the agreement will benefit the global trading system rather than harm it, and should re-energize multilateral trade efforts.

Addressing Currency Manipulation Through Trade Agreements (PDF) | Peterson Institute for International Economics
Peterson Institute senior fellow and director emeritus Fred Bergsten argues that today’s free trade agreements, TTIP and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, should include provisions to combat currency manipulation.

Leading From the Front on Free Trade |The Wall Street Journal
According to former USTR and World Bank President Bob Zoellick, Republicans should use Congressional TPA to set objectives that boost economic growth. They should also set an intellectual agenda for worker adjustment programs to support job flexibility and security, and moreover should not hesitate to work with President Obama on this issue where support for free and fair trade transcends traditional US political divisions.

A Future Made in Europe | Project Syndicate
Italy’s Prime Minister Enrico Letta argues that the EU should place a high priority on free trade agreements like TTIP to revitalize its manufacturing sector and fully-integrate into the global supply chain.

Is 2014 the Transatlantic Trade Deal’s ‘Make-or-Break’ Year? | The Huffington Post
Atlantic Council and SAIS resident fellow Erik Brattberg argues that after three rounds of negotiations, EU and US leaders must use this year to push TTIP towards a final agreement, or risk political opposition and other agenda items taking priority.

Upcoming Events

European Commission: Civil Society Dialogue – Update on TTIP Third Negotiating Round – January 14.
France and the United States: Companions in Competitiveness – January 21.
The Danger of Divergence: Transatlantic Financial Reform & the G20 Agenda – January 28.
The 20th Anniversary of NAFTA and the Future of Free Trade – January 28. 
The European-American Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Economic Update – February 12. 
Stock Taking Exercise between EU Commissioner Karel de Gucht and USTR Michael Froman – early 2014