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).
TTIP: On Track but Off Message?
On the eve of the US-EU summit, stakeholders remain optimistic that a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) deal can be reached, but they believe a less comprehensive agreement will result from more protracted talks, according to an Atlantic Council-Bertelsmann Foundation survey released yesterday. The survey, a follow-up to a similar 2013 poll, gauges the attitudes of more than 300 individuals on both sides of the Atlantic nearly one year after formal TTIP negotiations began. TTIP will be on the agenda at the March 26 Brussels summit.
Despite transatlantic controversies such as the NSA scandal, 85 percent of stakeholders believe the US and EU will reach an agreement, compared to 88 percent one year ago. Such support, however, comes with caveats. Only 29 percent of respondents believe a broad, comprehensive agreement will be reached, while 57 percent expect a “moderate” accord, which would omit some of the most contentious issues.
A quick deal is now also seen as less likely. A plurality of 29 percent believe an agreement will take effect in 2016.
Stakeholders furthermore believe the US and EU public have not been sufficiently informed about TTIP. Sixty percent of European respondents believe their governments have not clearly explained an agreement’s advantages and disadvantages. Forty-six percent of US respondents believe Washington has not done enough to explain the impact of a TTIP on everyday Americans.
The survey, conducted via e-mail by the Atlantic Council and the Bertelsmann Foundation from February 25-March 7, 2014, included trade-policy experts and observers of transatlantic relations in government, business, academia, and the media.
The report analyzing the 2014 TTIP survey can be found here.
Speeches & Official Announcements
De Gucht: TTIP has to be Ambitious
At last weekend’s Brussels Forum, both EU Commissioner for Trade Karel De Gucht and US Trade Representative Michael Froman emphasized the importance of reaching an ambitious deal on TTIP. Karel De Gucht’s message was that the status quo must be upended in favor of an ambitious agreement. Ambassador Froman reiterated that the goal of the TTIP was not too “homogenize” the two economies, but instead to eliminate existing barriers to trade and provide pathways to future regulatory coherence.
See video of the conversation here.
President Obama Delivers Speech at the Nuclear Security Summit in the Netherlands
Both Prime Minister Rutte of the Netherlands and President Obama restated the strong economic ties as well as the security partnership that exists between the two countries. President Obama stated his appreciation for the Netherland’s strong support of the TTIP. As Prime Minister Rutte noted, the Netherland’s is the world’s third largest investor into the United States, and TTIP would only expand investment opportunities. (Politico)
US Official Lobbies for Transatlantic Trade Pact
United States Trade Representative Michael Froman underscored that concluding an agreement on the TTIP is now even more of a priority in light of strategic concerns with respect to Europe’s dependence on Russia for natural gas. TTIP, he argues, would speed up the granting of licenses from the US Department of Energy to US companies to expand exports of natural gas to Europe. (New York Times)
Ukraine Crisis Gives New Impetus to EU-US Trade Talks, US Says
Both EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht and Ambassador Michael Froman reiterated the importance of an ambitious chapter on energy security in TTIP in Brussels on Saturday, while reminding the audience that the first goal of negotiations should be the elimination of all remaining tariffs. (Reuters)
Political Deal on EU Banking Union Completed
While the Single-Resolution Mechanism (SRM) agreed to by the EU Member States last week represents a breakthrough, many analysts argue that it may fall short when a real crisis surfaces. Many experts argue that the fund associated with the SRM is too small to make any impact, and that the decision-making mechanism associated with it is too cumbersome. Mario Draghi, head of the European Central Bank has publically stated that a third pillar of the Banking Union is still outstanding- a common deposit insurance guarantee scheme. (Wall Street Journal)
Europe’s Imperfect Banking Union
Atlantic Council Senior Fellow Megan Greene writes that the European banking union agreement as it currently stands will fall short of many of its goals and will only to be useful in the next crisis, not in definitively ending the current one. (Atlantic Council)
Transatlantic Trade, Butterflies and Earthquakes
An analysis by Marco Antonielli of Bruegel, examines TTIP in the context of a changing global trade landscape. The share of US-EU trade has fallen as a share of global trade significantly since 1995. The rise of developing Asian-Pacific nations and the offshoring of Western manufacturing to these countries is a huge factor. The analysis concludes that focusing on reducing regulatory costs is therefore where most of the gains of the TTIP will be made, as merchandise trade volumes decrease between the United States and Europe. (Bruegel)
US-EU Trade Pact Key To Rebuilding Transatlantic Ties
Nina dos Santos of CNN argues that the third goal of the TTIP, increasing investment flows, should be a major focus of the negotiations. Investment flows amount to about $4 trillion already, supporting 7 million jobs between the European Union and United States. Creating a better environment for businesses to invest and hire workers on both sides of the Atlantic will be crucial. (CNN)
The Challenges of a Transatlantic Trade Deal
In the Spanish newspaper Expansión Pablo Zalba Bidegain, vice chairman of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, analyzes four major obstacles in his opinion that remain in the way of completing an ambitious agreement: approval of Trade Promotion Authority, the debate over the inclusion of financial services, an agreement of the inclusion of an investor-state dispute resolution mechanism and more broadly the rebuilding of trust between the two trading partners. (Full article available in Spanish here)
President Obama travels to Brussels for a US-EU Summit – March 26
Transatlantic Conference TTIP Revealed: Fact and Fiction – Hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce to the EU on March 27 in Brussels (More information)
TTIP: Towards Transatlantic Regulatory Cooperation – A Swedish Perspective on the Horizontal Context and Challenges in Five Key Sectors – Embassy of Sweden in Washington, DC on April 1 (Register here)