An Important Week in Washington and Brussels as Round 7 Starts
There is a lot going on this week with regards to TTIP on both sides of the Atlantic. Yesterday, the European Parliament started their hearings to interview the nominees for the new Commission, beginning with Trade Commissioner-designate Cecilia Malmström. Hearings are scheduled to proceed until October 7, after which the European Parliament will vote to either accept or reject the new Commission as a whole on October 22. The International Trade committee voted to give their approval to Malmström's nomination this morning.
On the other side of the Atlantic, the seventh round of TTIP negotiations began yesterday just outside Washington in Chevy Chase, MD. EU Chief Negotiator Ignacio Garcia Bercero met with US Chief Negotiator Dan Mullaney and a delegation from the US Trade Representative's office on Monday to discuss the current state of the negotiations. This Wednesday, USTR will host a stakeholder forum to receive input and feedback from interested groups and civil society, along with a negotiator's briefing updating stakeholders on progress made to date. The 7th round negotiating week will close with a media briefing held by USTR on Friday, October 3.
Speeches and Official Announcements
Hearing for Cecilia Malmström, European Commissioner-designate for Trade
“I believe that we need a fresh start on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership,” Commissioner-designate for Trade Cecilia Malmström suggested in her hearing at the European Parliament yesterday. In her opening remarks, she addressed economic growth, job creation, and public concerns regarding TTIP. She promised to make negotiations more transparent and to improve communication between the European Parliament, national parliaments, and do a better job of communicating the benefits of an agreement to European citizens. Malmström passed her three hour hearing with a majority vote in the INTA committee this morning.
You can watch the full video of the hearing here.
The online magazine European Voice wrote an excellent blog covering Malmström’s confirmation hearing, providing insight and minute-by-minute analysis.
Another useful article by Euractiv summarizes the main points of her hearing and analyzes its implications for both the TTIP negotiations and the overall direction of EU trade policy.
Memo: EU-Canada Agree Deal to Boost Trade and Investment
The European Commission recently posted a memo on the final text of the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), detailing each of the components of CETA, including the end of virtually all tariffs and customs duties, regulatory cooperation, streamlining services trade, and more. CETA is widely seen as a precursor and possible template for the ongoing TTIP negotiations. (Europa)
See the joint official EU and Canadian press statement here.
You can read the full text of CETA agreement here.
The Globe and Mail offers an excellent commentary on the benefits of the agreement for Canada.
EU to Continue US Trade Talks, with its Canada Deal Notched
With the EU-Canada trade agreement CETA text recently completed after five years of negotiations, it can now be considered a possible model for TTIP. Outstanding issues including the inclusion of ISDS clause and energy have prolonged the negotiations far longer than anticipated. (Europe Online Magazine)
Arbitration May be Dropped From the US Trade-Deal, Says Malmström
After a weekend controversy regarding her written statement (which Malmström claims was simply a technical error) stating that the ISDS clause should not be a part of an EU-US trade deal, the commissioner-designate said that it is now “too early to judge” whether ISDS will ultimately be included in TTIP during her confirmation hearing. The controversial clause is included in previous EU trade agreements, including the CETA agreement with Canada. (Financial Times)
Michel Barnier Urges MEPs to Give UK’s Lord Hill a Fair Hearing
Michel Barnier, the current Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, urges members of the European Parliament to fairly judge Lord Hill, his designated successor from the UK, during his confirmation hearing on Wednesday. Barnier is concerned that about a perceived inward turn by US financial regulators which has led to a lack of coherency between the US-EU regulatory regimes. Barnier reiterated his view that financial services cooperation should be included in the future US-EU trade deal. (Financial Times)
EU Trade Chief Faults Washington and Berlin for Deal Stalemate
EU’s outgoing Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht warns that TTIP is at risk of indefinite delay, citing a lack of leadership on both sides of the Atlantic. Concerns are mounting especially with the upcoming transition to new European Commissioners and the uncertainty surrounding US congressional Trade Promotion Authority. If delays persist past 2015, the agreement could be delayed indefinitely due to US presidential election politics. (Financial Times)
Despite Bold Japan Trade Pledges, US Still Wonders: ‘Where’s the Beef?’
US negotiators repetitively complain that negotiators from Japan are not acting in good faith as the two sides try to agree on market access issues. Most recently, Japan’s chief negotiator walked out of a negotiation session over disagreements regarding Japan’s agriculture market. Two days later, Mr. Abe met with Vice President Joe Biden and signaled that more effort will be made during the TPP negotiation process moving forward. Time will tell. (Wall Street Journal).
The President's Trade Deals Are Wildly Popular. So Why Don't They Pass?
Earlier this month, two major opinion polls were released detailing the views of the American public on trade. The Chicago Council on Global Affairs reports that over 60 percent of respondents are in favor of TTIP and TPP, and the Pew results, though more cautious, indicate broad support for trade overall but uncertainty regarding the specific benefits of trade. The combined results of the polls indicate broad American support at a time when TPA authority is uncertain and trade negotiations stalling. Moreover, they represent a rather startling majority opinion in a time of great political division in the country and especially in Washington. Capitol Hill should take note--trade, especially with other developed nations, simply isn't as politically toxic as many think. (Foreign Policy)
CETA, TTIP: Global Trade Threatened by Vested National Interests
This outstanding piece by Bruno Maçães, Portuguese Secretary of State for European Affairs, talks about the current increase in protectionist trends in the European Union, with member states trying to protect their countries from competition, failing to act in the European Community’s interest when it comes to the negotiation of trade deals such as TTIP and CETA. Secretary Maçães stresses that in contrast to these trends, Portugal values global trade as a strategic element of their future prosperity and supports the further liberalization of the global market. He also makes an excellent case for streamlining and centralizing investment protection at the EU-level through a reformed ISDS process in both CETA and TTIP. (Euractiv)
One Year into the TTIP Negotiations: Getting to Yes
This bulletin by CATO Institute’s Simon Lester is a nice analysis of the current state of TTIP negotiations in the context of the world trading system, and outlines the main hurdles which are currently facing negotiators. In order to find a timely agreement, the author suggests to reduce the scope of the negotiations, focusing instead on traditional provisions of trade liberalization such as substantial tariff cuts, services liberalization, and the opening of procurement markets. (CATO Institute)
Video: Brussels Briefing on Trade: All you Need to Know for September 29 – October 13
In this video, trade editor of EU Trade Insights Lénaïc Vaudin d’Imécourt provides an overview of the most important trade issues of the next two weeks. Her highlights include yesterday’s hearing of Commissioner–designate Cecilia Malmström, this week’s seventh round of TTIP negotiations in Maryland, and the European Parliament’s International Trade Committee meetings next week in Brussels. (ViEUws)
TTIP Criticisms: Based on Myths or Reality?
This article by the editorial team of the Atlantic Community introduces a series titled “TTIP Criticisms: Based on Myths or Reality?” which will publish articles on issues surrounding the current state of TTIP from September 29 until November 16. In the course of the next two weeks, the entries will focus on general criticism voiced by opponents of TTIP and how these criticisms are refuted by proponents of the transatlantic agreement. (Atlantic Community)
Today’s two entries focus on dispelling five common misconceptions held by TTIP critics and a call to increase transparency and focus more on sustainability as the talks move forward.
Manufacturers Hope for TTIP
This video by the German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reports that despite some criticism voiced in the German public, manufacturers on both sides of the Atlantic stand to benefit greatly from TTIP and hope for its quick conclusion. (Deutsche Welle)
Make or Break Week Begins for the Juncker Commission
This article published by Euractiv, is an excellent reminder that the current hearings for the Commissioner-designates are not only important for the individual nominees but for the entire Commission and its new set-up. Aside from concerns about individual nominees such as Britain's Lord Hill and France's Pierre Moscovici, major structural concerns were voiced, questioning Juncker’s use of vice-presidents with oversight responsibilities. (Euractiv)
Seventh Round of TTIP Negotiations – September 29 - October 3 in Washington DC – a political stock-taking between Ambassador Froman and Commissioner De Gucht will follow the talks on October 13. Stakeholder events will take place on Wednesday, October 1 as outlined below.
What’s Next? Fostering the Next Generation of Energy Security Conference - September 30 in Washington DC; hosted by the American Security Project - More Information
Global Services Summit - September 30 in Washington DC; hosted by the Coalition of Services Industries; featuring remarks by many international Trade ministers - More Information
Stakeholder Policy Presentations During the 7th round of TTIP Negotiations - October 1 in Chevy Chase, MD; hosted by USTR and the European Commission - More Information
Stakeholder Forum During the 7th Round of TTIP Negotiations - Chief Negotiators' Briefing - October 1 in Chevy Chase, MD; hosted by USTR and the European Commission - More Information
Challenges Facing the World Trade System - Conference October 1-2 in Washington, DC; hosted by the Bernard L. Schwartz Globalization Initiative at SAIS - More Information on Day 1 ; More information on the 2nd day.
TTIP Roadshow, Sheffield: The US-EU Trade Negotiations and the Coalition for Transatlantic Business - October 1 in Sheffield, England; hosted by the British- American Business Association - More Information
Made For Trade: Leading Global Trade Policy - October 2 in Washington, DC, hosted by HSBC - More Information
TTIP: A Watershed Agreement with Far-Reaching Implications – October 2 in Philadelphia, PA; hosted by the British American Business Council - More Information
EMI TTIP Summit, Brussels - October 2 in Brussels; hosted by European Movement International - More Information
District Export Council's Second Annual International Trade Symposium - October 3, Washington DC; hosted by the US Chamber of Commerce - More Information
Conference: The New Transatlantic Market: Game Changers, Opportunities and Risks - October 8 in London; hosted by the British American Business Association - More Information
The ECB and the Eurozone: A Conversation with Mario Draghi - October 9 in Washington DC; hosted by the Brookings Institute - More Information
The Next Stage of Eurozone Recovery: A Conversation with Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem - October 10 in Washington DC; hosted by the Atlantic Council - More Information
Transatlantic Free Trade: the final push? British, French and US perspectives on a TTIP agreement - October 13 in London; hosted by the Academic Association for Contemporary European Studies - More Information
Launch of new Atlantic Council Publication: TTIP - Big Benefits for Small Companies – November 14 in Washington – More information forthcoming