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.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

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

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

Protests, violence in Haiti prompts international call for ‘realistic and lasting solutions’ to crisis

The opportunity of studying Medicine abroad

The succesful cooperation

Bank resolutions to remain a politically influenced affair

Here are five things to know about the future of being human

Yemen talks: Truce agreed over key port city of Hudaydah

Crimea: The last bloodless secession of a Ukraine region?

Mexico needs a new strategy to boost growth, fight poverty and improve well-being for all

EU’s core members are eyeing larger parts of arms trade and of world map

The Schengen area is at a crossroads

“Is Europe innovative? Oh, Yes we are very innovative!”, Director General of the European Commission Mr Robert-Jan Smits on another Sting Exclusive

Study: Trade supports over 36 million jobs across the EU

Tuesday’s Daily Brief: hate speech, dementia, Libya and Yemen, human rights in Brazil and Lebanon

Cultural tolerance is a must: “No sir, I’m not inferior!”

EU and UK soon to be in a post-Brexit rush over free trade agreement with Australia

Apple® logo (copyright: Apple)

Apple takes further step into music: EU Regulators formally approve its planned Shazam acquisition

‘Race against time’ to help women who bore brunt of Cyclone Idai: UN reproductive health agency

Varna (Bulgaria) awarded European Youth Capital 2017

Password managers aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Here’s why

Bangladesh: Head of UN refugee agency calls on Asia-Pacific leaders to show ‘solidarity’ with Rohingya refugees

3 ways Africa can improve the health of women and children

Hydrogen isn’t the fuel of the future. It’s already here

Alexandre in Czech Republic

Afghanistan: UN ‘unequivocally condemns’ attack in Kabul

No way out for Eurozone’s stagnating economy

From social entrepreneurship to systems entrepreneurship: how to create lasting change

THE COMMITTEES: ‘All roads lead to the Fifth’

Europe eyes to replace US as China’s prime foreign partner

FROM THE FIELD: Watering the parched farmland of São Tomé and Príncipe

Trump rejects Europe’s offer for zero car tariffs; he had personally tabled that idea in July

Brexit: UK business fear of a no-deal scenario preparing for the worst

Ebola outbreak in DR Congo conflict zone ‘remains dangerous and unpredictable’ – UN chiefs

ECB offers plenty and cheap liquidity to support growth in all Eurozone countries

UN launches innovative programme to detect and disrupt terrorist travel

A ‘strong and united Europe’ has never been more needed, declares UN chief Guterres

Parliament in favour of lifting visa requirements for Kosovars

Brexit: MEPs concerned over reported UK registration plans for EU27 citizens

Germany caught with selfish double standards in euro area policy

Worldwide terror attacks have fallen for the third year in a row

Burkina Faso: Dozens killed in clashes, UN chief condemns attacks

Towards seamless patent registration and protection in 25 EU countries

New European frontiers for renewable energy development

How India is harnessing technology to lead the Fourth Industrial Revolution

The Commission calls for a climate neutral Europe by 2050*

Who the US and China have trade disputes with

Reforms in a few countries drive a decline in average OECD labour taxes

COP22 addresses a strong global pledge to effectively implement the Paris Agreement

Water is a growing source of global conflict. Here’s what we need to do

Forward Agenda: What can we expect from 2019?

European Business Summit 2015: In search of a vision for the future

Artificial intelligence summit focuses on fighting hunger, climate crisis and transition to ‘smart sustainable cities’

UN chief praises Malaysia’s death penalty repeal as ‘major step forward’

MEPs condemn attacks on civilians, including children, in Yemen

Autumn 2018 Economic Forecast: sustained but less dynamic growth amid high uncertainty

The European Sting live from the World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

The dangers of data: why the numbers never tell the full story

It’s not summer holidays what lead to the bad August of the German economy

How drones can manage the food supply chain and tell you if what you eat is sustainable

UN chief condemns attack in south-west Iran which killed dozens

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