American negotiators can’t pay for their trip to Brussels, EU-US trade agreement freezes

Karel De Gucht, Member of the European Commission participates at an event on the TTIP. (EC Audiovisual Services).

Karel De Gucht, Member of the European Commission participates at an event on the TTIP. (EC Audiovisual Services).

Quite unexpectedly, EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht announced yesterday night the cancellation of 2nd Round of Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations in Brussels, due to the US administration shutdown. His counterpart, United States Trade Representative Ambassador Michael Froman informed him that “due to the ongoing furlough, the US Administration will not be able to send to Brussels next week officials from USTR and US Government agencies to maintain the planned second round of negotiations in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). All negotiation sessions planned for next week (7-11 October 2013) in Brussels are therefore cancelled”.

Only some days ago on 30 September, De Gucht and Froman had met to fix the last arrangements for this second round of the TTIP negotiations. After the meeting, the EU Commissioner expressed his contentment that the negotiations are progressing on schedule. He noted, “Our main ambition – beyond simply reducing tariffs across the board – is to make the EU and the US regulatory systems more compatible and to help shape global rules in trade since this is where the economic and political benefits of a deal lie”. Obviously nobody believed then that after three days the Americans will not be able to pay for their trip to Brussels.

Can’t pay for their tickets

Day after day since the US government was forced on 1 October to start partially shutting down its services due to lack of credits, this issue gains unbelievable dimensions. It is quite astonishing that high-ranking officials of the US Trade Administration and other crucial government services are unable to pay for their trip to Brussels. Even the American President Barack Obama, was obliged to cancel his trip to East Asia. As a consequence he would not participate in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum and he will also miss the East Asia summit. This is not the first time though that the Republicans of Washington’s Capitol Hill, bring the US government to its knees. Exactly the same political deadlock occurred 17 years ago, when the GOP forced Bill Clinton’s administration to partially shut the US down.

The question is that both the EU and the US were counting a lot on the swift achievement of this tremendous trade agreement. Negotiations on the TTIP were scheduled to be completed before the end of the year, and the agreement to start immediately delivering fruits. Both sides of the Atlantic are actually expecting a strong growth impetus from the application of the TTIP. As things turn out, this unexpected cancellation of negotiations comes as a gift to those who urged the EU to withdraw altogether from it, in response to NSA’s spying on European citizens and institutions.

More victims

Of course the timely conclusion of the TTIP is not the only victim of this extreme political line followed by the House Republicans. Their fury against President Obama’s health care reform has taken extraordinary dimensions. Behind all that it’s actually only a small group of representatives who pushed the GOP to this direction.

These people are behaving like a party within the party. In their constituencies they are the darlings of the Tea Parties, representing the super conservative voters. Their main political characteristic is that they don’t seem willing to negotiate and the question is how far the rest of the party will follow them, in this slippery ground.

In any case the cancellation of the second round of negotiations for the TTIP between the EU and the US, is just collateral damage of the Republican’s decision to put the Obama administration in a most difficult position. As De Gucht stressed tough, “The cancellation of next week’s negotiation round in Brussels is clearly unfortunate but let me underline that in no way it distracts us from our overall aim of achieving an ambitious trade and investment deal between Europe and the US”.

Last time, 17 years ago when the GOP followed the same strategy against Bill Clinton, the government shutdown lasted for 21 days. This time it’s difficult to predict how far it will go. However a benchmark date is 17 October, when the US government would need a raise its legal borrowing limit, in order to continue being able to pay its bills. If the Republican majority of the House of Representatives continues in its present hard-line and rejects the law to increase the borrowing ceiling, then even an US government default may be plausible.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Draghi’s negative interest rates help Eurozone’s cohesion

How COVID-19 could open the door for driverless deliveries

A new Europe for people, planet and prosperity for all

€5 billion of EU energy efficiency project money spent on “comfort”

2030 development agenda: Major breakthrough for world of work

UN chief saddened at news of death of former US President George H.W. Bush

It is me

Consumer protection: Deal on EU-wide rules for those sold faulty products

Blockchain is not a magic bullet for security. Can it be trusted?

Towards a climate-neutral Europe: EU invests over €10bn in innovative clean technologies

Draghi indirectly accuses Germany of using double standards in financial issues

UN court increases sentence of former Bosnian-Serb leader to life imprisonment

EU-US: A new transatlantic agenda for global change

More unemployment and lower wages to make European workers competitive?

UN chief applauds Bangladesh for ‘opening borders’ to Rohingya refugees in need

The gender gap of medicine in 2018

Turn toxic e-waste into a source of ‘decent work’, UN labour agency urges

Why Trump’s tariffs are good news for US garlic farmers

Lifting the lid on policy decisions across Africa

Homicide kills far more people than armed conflict, new UN study shows

10 things you – and your government – should know about competitiveness in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Why 2020 will see the birth of the ‘trust economy’

We must work together to build a new world order. This is how we can do it

Digital mental health is here – but how do we ensure its quality?

The collision of these 3 geographies is creating a new world order

Here’s why e-mobility must be at the heart of the green recovery

VAT: EU Member States still losing almost €150 billion in revenues according to new figures

Switzerland: prepare for population ageing to maintain high living standards

First seat projections for the next European Parliament

This NASA-inspired technology converts carbon dioxide into food. Here’s how

Our children’s career aspirations have nothing in common with the jobs of the future

Moves to create a Kosovo army have ‘deteriorated relations’ with Serbia: UN peacekeeping chief

EU adopts retaliative measures in response to US steel and aluminum tariffs

1 in 5 deaths globally caused by fossil fuel pollution, a new study reveals

Mental health: simple ideas that can make a difference

The technologies – and thoughtful collaborations – that can build resilience in the food system after COVID-19

European research priorities for 2021-2027 agreed with member states

Contribution of healthcare professionals towards the 2030 Global Health Agenda

Joint EU-U.S. statement following the EU-U.S. Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Meeting

UN committed to helping Haiti build better future, says Guterres, marking 10-year anniversary of devastating earthquake

10 months were not enough for the EU to save the environment but 2 days are

Syrian crisis is ‘clearest example’ of foreign investment in terrorism, Deputy Prime Minister says at UN

Coronavirus: the truth against the myths

“Only through energy policy we can trigger competitiveness”. The Sting live from #EBS2015: Energy Union – When will it happen?

‘Signs of hope’ toward a political settlement in Yemen, UN special envoy tells Security Council

EU leaders slammed on anti-tax evasion inaction and expensive energy

Ceasefire holds in Tripoli, but core problems remain, says UN Libya mission chief

Quality education an ‘essential pillar’ of a better future, says UN chief

Stateless Rohingya refugee children living in ‘untenable situation’, UNICEF chief

Quality Education on the table at the European Parliament

The developing world must get ready to adapt its trade to climate change

Five cities short-listed to become the European Youth Capital 2017

Cambodia’s digital currency can show other central banks the way

Eurozone: Statistics don’t tell the whole story

We don’t know how autonomous vehicles will depreciate – and that’s a problem

4 key trends on how COVID has impacted women in business

Final turnout data for 2019 European elections announced

Investors have a role in securing our shared digital future

Parliament demands democratic scrutiny over national recovery efforts

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s