Today’s blog entry focuses on news on TTIP, more specifically on the debate surrounding the ISDS mechanism and rights and labor standards under TTIP from an American perspective. In addition, the blog covers the launch of a new report named “Bridging the Pacific- Americas’ new Frontier?”, researched and issued by the Atlantic Council.

Bridging the Pacific- The Americas’ New Economic Frontier?
A new Atlantic Council report authored by Peter Rashish suggests nine concrete steps to ensure that the United States and Latin America are primed to take best advantage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. In times of increasing global competition, maintaining the status quo in global trade policy is simply not an option. Moreover, failing to conclude TPP will result in grave economic disadvantages for both the US and Latin America. (Atlantic Council)

A summary of the event featuring Congressmen Charles Boustany (R-LA), Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Acting Deputy US Trade Representative Wendy Cutler, and a panel of public and private sector experts, along with a webcast are available here.

Speeches and Official Announcements 

Statistical Overview of ISDS Public Consultations
Due to huge public interest in the Investor-to-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions being debated in TTIP, the European Commission reached out to the public for feedback. Of the nearly 150,000 responses, respondents from the UK, Austria, and Germany participated most often. (European Commission)

De Gucht Says US Not Dragging Feet on TTIP, Lauds Technical Work
EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht has commended the US for the amount of technical analysis put into the talks so far. He has also mentioned the need for additional technical talks this year, as negotiations in 2015 are expected to focus more on political issues. However, there is still a lot of negotiating work to be done, especially in defining ‘landing zones’ on difficult issues to come up next year. (Inside Trade)
Official press release by the European Parliament after Commissioner De Gucht’s recent testimony before the International Trade Committee.

Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership: What’s in it for me?
The UK Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills has published information regarding the consumer benefits of TTIP. The leaflet explains the background of TTIP, as well as several tangible benefits the conclusion of TTIP would bring to consumers. (UK Government)


Merkel Eyes Trade Portfolio for Oettinger
German Chancellor Merkel would like German Commissioner Gunther Oettinger to be assigned the trade portfolio in the new European Commission. This would make him chief negotiator of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, an influential post at the heart of a centerpiece of the next Commission’s agenda. His appointment is backed by the business community in Germany. (EurActiv)

Study: No Trans-Pacific Partnership would be a Setback for U.S., Latin America
A new Atlantic Council study states that failing to conclude the transpacific partnership (TPP) will result in both grave economic and geopolitical consequences, especially for Latin America who has been taking the lead in trade liberalization in recent years and who will be one of the core members of the TPP. Currently, the US and the eleven Pacific Rim countries are negotiating on a small number of outstanding rules and procedures, whose solution does not only depend on the engagement by prospective member states but on presidential leadership. (Miami Harald)

SMEs and Digital Economy Dominating TTIP Talks
Due to the rising evidence of the importance of the digital economy, EU and US negotiators are deciding whether a TTIP chapter devoted exclusively to the subject is necessary. Similar to the issue of SMEs, which has a chapter dedicated to it, negotiators are wondering whether the issue of the digital economy would be better handled as part of a number of chapters, or as a single chapter. (EU Bulletin)

Turkey Proposes Free Trade Zone with Russia
Turkey has proposed a free trade zone with Russia, following discussions in Sydney. Trade ministers from the G-20 recently met in Sydney, and the economy ministers of the two countries raised the idea of a free trade zone. Turkey has long harbored concerns over the nature of its agreements with the EU, especially in the face of upcoming TTIP negotiations. (International Business Times)

New UPS CEO Backs Trade Agreements
David Abney, incoming CEO of UPS, is aiming to focus more on international economies, and better use of technology. He also is in favour of free trade agreements in international negotiations, as concluding them would help both UPS and small businesses reach emerging markets around the world. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Swedish Official Tours PartnerTech’s US Facility
PartnerTech Inc., a systems integration and mechanic manufacturer located in Georgia, hosted Andrea von Uexkull on his tour of the US. Von Uexkull is a trade official from the Swedish Embassy, and is making his rounds across the United States to raise awareness and insight about TTIP. (PRweb)

Recent Analysis

The Errors of Conservatives Obscure the Case for Trade
In this article, Peterson Institute President Adam Posen addresses the misperception that US politicians and public alike share concerning the effects of international trade on the US workforce and economy. He criticizes their “NAFTA phobia”, claiming that many on the left have simply used NAFTA as a scapegoat for the loss of manufacturing jobs and increasing income inequality, both of which have been statistically proven to not be attributable to trade. His article aims to put the liberalization of trade in perspective and appeals for a change of the public’s perception of free trade. (Financial Times)

Labor Rights and Labor Standards in Transatlantic Trade and Investment Negotiations: An American Perspective
The joint paper issued by the John Hopkins University and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung is part of a working paper series and succeeds a paper which has focused on the European perspective on the same issue. The paper gives a comprehensive overview over the challenges currently surrounding the conclusion of TTIP, especially focusing on the debates on the ISDS clause, social security and rights imbalances. The paper adopts many illustrative real-life examples and gives valuable recommendations on how to resolve the remaining disputes. (John Hopkins University)

Turkey: Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership: How Should Turkey Cope with the Changing Dynamics?
The nature of TTIP negotiations have made it difficult for third parties to accurately predict the implications of the agreement on their own nations. Turkey, a country with strong ties to the European Union, will acutely feel the impact of these negotiations. While many argue that Turkey should reach for more involvement in the treaty, the more likely outcome is that, after a quick regulation of Turkish legal and commercial standards to those of TTIP’s, bilateral trade should quickly re-stabilize. (Mondaq)

Should the ‘Right to be Forgotten’ be Reviewed by an International Court?
Simon Lester, a trade policy analyst at the Cato Institute, argues that investor-state dispute settlement should be the role of international courts. This comes in the wake of an ECJ decision to force Google to remove negative information about individuals upon request. However, if TTIP was already in place, Google may have been able to challenge the ECJ ruling before an international tribunal. This entire issue has will clearly be at the center of the debate for months to come. (EurActiv)

Upcoming Events

TTIP Advisory Group Meeting – July 24 in Brussels; hosted by the European Commission – More Information

Crafting Economic Policy at State – July 29 in Washington hosted by CSIS with Catherine Novelli, US Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment – More Information

Growing the Development Dividend: A Conversation with U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman – July 29  in Washington hosted by the Brookings Institute – More Information 

Beyond Rhetoric: How the US can Help Enhance European Energy Security – July 30 in Washington hosted by the American Security Project – More Information