Malmstrom Foreign Affairs Council_2

Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström speaks at a meeting of the European Union Foreign Affairs Council on November 27. (Photo Credit: The European Union)


TTIP Graphic of the Week

ttip sme

This graphic by the European Commission’s TTIP Team clearly indicates the challenges European SMEs are currently facing in exporting to the united States and highlights the gains for small companies in TTIP. 

If you are interested in reading in more depth about what small and medium enterprises stand to gain from TTIP, we recommend reading our Atlantic Council report “Big Opportunities for Small Business“.

Speeches and Official Announcements

Trade Commissioner Malmström Speaks at the Foreign Affairs Council 

Last week, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström met with ministers from each of the European Union member states at the Council of Europe’s Foreign Affairs Council to discuss progress on the Commission’s major trade initiatives, especially TTIP and the upcoming WTO Ministerial Meeting in Nairobi, as well as the new “Trade for All” strategy. (Council of Europe)

The European Commission has more about the topics on the agenda of the meeting here.

A video of Commissioner Malmström’s opening remarks can be watched here.

All Members of the European Parliament to be Given Access to All Confidential TTIP Documents

“The access conditions we have agreed on will increase the transparency of the TTIP process significantly. What we have achieved today will also set a precedent for the transparency of future trade talks”—Bernd Lange, Chair of the European Parliament’s Trade Committee

After an agreement reached today between the European Parliament and the European Commission, all MEPs will now be able to access and take notes on texts from TTIP negotiations. Previously access to these confidential negotiating texts had been limited to a small number of MEPs, but in the framework of the European Commission’s initiative to make the negotiation’s as transparent as possible, all MEPs will be able to see the latest documents on draft texts and negotiations. (European Parliament)


Secretary Vilsack Discusses Agricultural Issues in TTIP 

Speaking at the European Commission’s Agricultural Outlook Conference in Brussels, US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack discussed the obstacles in agricultural issues facing the United States and the European Union as they negotiate TTIP, specifically highlighting genetically modified products and geographical indications. Despite these hurdles, Secretary Vilsack expressed optimism about the negotiations, saying he was “convinced we can get a balanced outcome that will have the support of Europe’s farm sector.” (Reuters)

The European Commission Consults All Stakeholders on TTIP

In a letter to The Guardian, Daniel Rosario, Spokesperson for trade and agriculture and rural development at the European Commission, counters concerns that negotiators are only consulting business leaders in TTIP negotiations by pointing out the opportunity for access and input provided to trade unions, NGOs, consumer groups, and other organizations beyond just businesses. He also stresses the democratic legitimacy of TTIP negotiations, as the Commission’s negotiating mandate has been approved unanimously by all 28 EU member states. (The Guardian)

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Recent Analysis

Countering Capaldo’s Gloomy Predictions for TTIP

Miranda Murray, writing for the Atlantic Community, highlights a new study from European Center for International Political Economy (ECIPE) countering a very negative and flawed study of TTIP from Jeronim Capaldo of the Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University that has become popular among TTIP critics to add false credibility to their arguments that the hotly debated trade agreement will hurt the European economy. Murray highlights how the ECIPE study points out methodological flaws in Capaldo’s study and also looks at numerous other TTIP studies, the vast majority of which have predicted significant economic gains from a TTIP agreement. (Atlantic Community)

Toward a Transatlantic Renaissance? TTIP’s Geopolitical Impact in a Multipolar World

In a policy paper for the German Marshall Fund of the United States, Erik Brattberg writes on the geopolitical implications of TTIP and its potential to reinvigorate transatlantic relations. By promoting growth, improving energy security, increasing transatlantic cooperation, and refocusing the transatlantic partnership, TTIP would provide an important building block to deal with rising geopolitical and geo-economic challenges and defending an international liberal order under pressure in a unified fashion. (German Marshall Fund of the United States)

A New Communication Strategy for TTIP

Michael Schneider, the President of the EPP Group of the European Committee of the Regions, writes on a new communication strategy for TTIP focusing on local communities. He applauds the greater transparency in TTIP negotiations over the last year, but argues that while much information is available it has not been effectively communicated to most European citizens. He deems it essential that the European Commission involves local and regional authorities in the negotiations to help communicate to locals about the positive impact TTIP will have on their lives. (Springer Link)

Investment Dispute Systems Help Strengthen the Rule of Law

Peter H. Chase, Vice President for Europe at the US Chamber of Commerce, critically assesses the European Commission’s ‘new approach’ to investment disputes in the context of TTIP that they adopted in response to public concerns about ISDS. He argues that investment dispute systems actually are to the benefit of governments and help support international rule of law by creating standard protections for investors across borders and suggests the European Commission to rethink its approach. (Springer Link

Schäuble Argues for TTIP in Speech

Speaking last week at a TTIP Forum in Berlin, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble reiterated his support for and commitment to completing a TTIP agreement. He has long been a supporter of TTIP, emphasizing its benefits for Germany and the general boost in economic growth that would result in increased trade between the world’s two largest economies.  (Handelsblatt)

TPP News

Congressional Research Service Releases Brief on the TPP

The Congressional Research Service recently released a brief assessment of the TPP and some of the main issue areas in the agreement that will be followed up by a more in-depth report. The brief goes through some of the more significant chapters in the agreement like intellectual property, government procurement, labor environment, and more to assess the arguments for and against the agreement and some of the likely impacts of the agreement’s provisions. (Congressional Research Service)

Ambassador Froman Highlights TPP’s Benefits to Los Angeles

In a speech in Los Angeles last week, United States Trade Representative Michael Froman focused on the benefits to job growth and exports to Asia that TPP would provide for businesses in Los Angeles and throughout California. In 2014, Los Angeles area businesses exported $75.5 billion to the world, and the TPP will provide further support to this already-large trade. (Office of the United States Trade Representative)

Five Groups That Could Determine the Fate of the TPP

The newspaper The Hill provides a nice breakdown of the most important groups in Congress that will play a major role in the battle to pass the TPP in Congress. Most of the Republican leadership has yet to state their opinion on the deal, and it will require significant negotiations among pro-trade Democrats and Republicans to see if they can reach a bipartisan consensus and vote to approve the agreement. (The Hill)

Assessing TPP’s Impact on Latin America

While the Latin American countries that are part of the TPP- Mexico, Peru, and Chile- have significantly different economies, they have a significant chance to gain from the TPP. Greater economic integration with countries in the Pacific should allow these Latin American countries to move up in global supply chains and provide greater opportunities for export. These countries could also serve as spurs for other countries in Latin America to join the TPP if they see the benefits that can be gained from joining the agreement.  (Seeking Alpha

An Agricultural Perspective on the TPP

A blog post on AgWeb looks at the impact of the TPP on the agricultural industry. The TPP is set to significantly lower tariff barriers on a number of agricultural products, which would significantly increase market access for US producers. Most agricultural groups have come out in favor of the deal after reviewing it as well. (AgWeb)

The Bigger Picture – Trade in Action

International Monetary Fund Adds RMB to SDR Basket

On November 30, the IMF announced that it would add China’s currency, the Renminbi, to its basket of global currencies that make up the Special Drawing Right (SDR). The move signals the increasing importance of China’s currency in the global financial system. Launching the new SDR basket on October 1, 2016 will provide sufficient lead time for the Fund, its members and other SDR users to adjust to these changes. (International Monetary Fund)

For an interesting analysis of the decision, check out this piece from the New York Times with commentary from the Atlantic Council’s C. Boyden Gray Fellow Chris Brummer.

The European Union and Vietnam Complete Negotiations for Landmark Trade Deal 

On December 2, the European Union and Vietnam completed negotiations for a free trade agreement. The agreement has one of the strongest chapters on sustainable development ever negotiated, and is also significant because Vietnam agreed to the Commission’s new Investment Court System proposal. (European Commission)

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström has a blog post with more about the impact of the agreement.

Malmström Op-ed on Nairobi Talks and the WTO

In advance of WTO Ministerial Talks in Nairobi later this month, Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström has published an op-ed arguing for new energy at the talks to refocus the WTO and move beyond the Doha Round talks. She also advocates for more of the progress being made in bilateral and regional trade agreements to be incorporated through the WTO in the multilateral trading system.  (Politico)

A Further Round of Talks on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement/Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area Completed

On December 1, the European Union, Ukraine, and Russia completed another round of talks on the implementation of the free trade agreement between Ukraine and the European Union. Russia has continued to voice several concerns, but implementation of the agreement is set for January 1 2016. (European Commission)

Upcoming Events

UK National Road Shows – June to December in the United Kingdom, hosted by the British American Business – More Information

TTIP Citizens Dialogue with Trade Commissioner Malmström – December 3 in Berlin, hosted by the Europa Union Germany- More Information 

Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP): Framing the Adequate System for Investor-State Dispute Settlement- 3-4 December in Luxembourg, hosted by the Max Planck Institute for Procedural Law- More Information

TTIP Conference– December 4, 2015 in Firenze, Italy, hosted by the Group of Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament- More Information (Original page in Italian)