TTIP’s 11th round starts in Miami but EU-US businesses see no sunny side

Cecilia goes "shopping" in America. Mrs Cecilia Malmström, Member of the EC in charge of Trade, travelled to New York to visit a few European SMEs, including Solstiss, a high-end lace manufacturer, as well as Nudie Jeans. Photo taken during the recent visit of the Commissioner responsible for Trade to the United States (EC Audiovisual Services, 25/09/2015).

Cecilia goes “shopping” in America. Mrs Cecilia Malmström, Member of the EC in charge of Trade, travelled to New York to visit a few European SMEs, including Solstiss, a high-end lace manufacturer, as well as Nudie Jeans. The purpose of the visits was to discuss trade obstacles faced by these companies when trading across the Atlantic, such as cumbersome customs requirements, tariffs and overlapping bureaucracy. Photo taken during the recent visit of the Commissioner responsible for Trade to the United States (EC Audiovisual Services, 25/09/2015).

After almost three months since the last official meeting between the senior negotiators of the European Union and the United States, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations resumed yesterday in Miami. Unfortunately, at least for those who still believe in this gigantic trade agreement between the two blocs, the nice and warm location is just one of the not so many bright momentums of the negotiation procedure.

A slow process

Indeed the Miami talks come in a very delicate moment for the EU-US trade deal, and the outcome of the negotiations this time looks even more uncertain than in the past. This is certainly due to the general evolution of the TTIP works, which is beyond a shadow of a doubt going very slow and might also have reached a dead end: this week’s session is surely one of the last calls to boost the negotiation process. Moreover, some very recent happenings have also played a decisive role in TTIP’s “bad luck”.

First, the 11th round of the TTIP talks come after the US secured a very important position on the world’s trade stage, with the launch of the Pacific free-trade pact with Japan, Canada, Malaysia and eight other countries. The Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade agreement or “TPP” that  the American government has been trying for 5 years, is now reality and this is not necessarily good news for the “sister” American trade deal, TTIP.

A TPP-effect?

The truth is that a positive effect on TTIP coming from the agreement of TPP, something many were foreseeing and wishing for, is unlikely to be on its way. Earlier this month, the European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström greeted the news of the conclusion of the TPP as good news for world trade as a whole. “It is also good news for the trade negotiations between the US and the EU, because with TPP done we will be able to approach our TTIP negotiations with an even greater focus from both sides”, she declared during a press conference.

The risk that there’s no real connection between a US success with the TPP and a possible “greater focus” on TTIP is high though, especially due to the substantial difference between the two agreements: while the US were striving to lower sensibly the trade tariffs barriers with the other TPP negotiators, there’s no big tariff issue with the EU, where trade taxes are already very low compared to all their other trade partners. The problem with the EU lays basically on three pillars: digital trade, harmonizing regulations for food and cosmetics and intellectual property.

A bad vortex instead

Moreover, the biggest danger for TTIP backers now is that there might be a sort of bad TPP-effect instead. Even though the attention of the American investors would not automatically and immediately shift eastbound, a growing appeal of the Canadian-Asian-Oceanic bloc is somehow due.
The only hope among many TTIP “lovers” today remains that the TPP will serve as a wake-up call for the EU, which simply cannot think of being a bystander anymore in the international trade field.

Protests gain surely momentum though

The other bad news for the EU-US agreement is that protests are certainly not easing either. Numbers indeed show that the opposition is stronger than before at both sides of the Atlantic, especially in the Old Continent.

After the Stop-TTIP movement drew at least 150,000 people to a protest in Berlin less than ten days ago, on October 10, anti-TTIP mobilisations were truly flourishing everywhere. At least 100 people were arrested in Brussels last week while hundreds were marching against the “precious” transatlantic trade treaty and European austerity policies in general. Another 2,000 people were protesting against TTIP in Brussels last Saturday as well.

Many TTIP opponents argue that the pact would undermine standards and regulations on environmental protection, health and safety, as well as workers’ rights, among other points, although Commissioner Malmström promised once again that “nothing in TTIP will undermine the way EU regulation protects our citizens”.

Many are also convinced and worried that TTIP will ultimately increase multinational company’s power through the so-called ISDS clause, the mechanism that would allow corporations to sue governments in tribunals if they believe to have been obstructed by local laws.

ISDS not covered in Miami

The Miami talks will not cover ISDS though, as the EU is currently developing its alternative proposal. The eleventh round of TTIP negotiations will mainly focus on government procurement standards that favor local businesses. The topic is quite thorny, as the US states are especially resistant to pressure on openning their contracts to foreign competitors. “State-level procurement in the US is very important for us”, an EU Commission official reportedly said. TTIP negotiators aim to exchange offers for government procurement by February next year though.

Whatever will come out of Miami talks, the feelings around TTIP have once again reached a record low. Business communities on both sides of the Atlantic are showing impatience, as the US Presidential elections as well as the referendum on whether the UK should remain in the EU premises are looming.

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

Abu Dhabi is investing $250 million in tech start-ups

Energy: new target of 32% from renewables by 2030 agreed by MEPs and ministers

This German supermarket’s shelves are filled with food other stores won’t sell

Royal Navy to unveil future surveillance and reconnaissance requirements next February in Rome

Air pollution: How to end the deaths of 7 million people per year

Draghi: ECB to flood Eurozone and the world with more zero cost money; risk of drowning in cash

DR Congo Ebola centre attacks could force retreat against the deadly disease, warns UN health chief

The Shifting Rhythms of Harmonious China: Ancient, Modern & Eternal

European Semester: The Winter Package explained

This Canadian company transforms plastic waste into building materials

Ensure safety of responders UN Security Council urges, amid worsening DR Congo Ebola outbreak

The final countdown towards achieving 2030 Agenda

How man and machine can work together in the age of AI

Two EU Commissioners fire at will against the US

The why in including palliative care in Universal Health Care

Rapid growth in China post-COVID makes it ripe for investment

‘A new chapter’ dawns for democracy in Guinea-Bissau: top UN official

Coronavirus: ‘An emergency in China, but not yet a global health emergency’

‘Unconscionable’ to kill aid workers, civilians: UN Emergency Coordinator

New rules allow EU consumers to defend their rights collectively

Eritrea sanctions lifted amid growing rapprochement with Ethiopia: Security Council

Malaysia can show the way towards a holistic model for human rights

Coronavirus: Commission proposes a Digital Green Certificate

ECB money bonanza not enough to revive euro area, Germany longs to rule with stagnation

EU-U.S Joint statement on the humanitarian emergency in Tigray

UN rights chief welcomes new text to protect rights of peasants and other rural workers

State aid: Commission approves €790 million Croatian guarantee scheme for companies with export activities affected by coronavirus outbreak

How will the EU face the migration crisis when the Turkish threats come true?

Pesticides: MEPs propose blueprint to improve EU approval procedure

Hazy ‘breakthrough’ saves PM May, leaves Ireland in limbo: Brexit

European Junior Enterprises to address the significant skills mismatch in the EU between school and employment

Women in Medicine: An Equality Long Overdue

In a time of rising xenophobia, more important than ever to ratify Genocide Convention

6 ways countries can prepare for the next infectious disease pandemic

After the European Parliament elections – what happens next?

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

Zero carbon by 2050 is possible. Here is what we need to do

State aid: Commission approves €511 million Italian scheme to compensate commercial rail passenger operators for damages suffered due to coronavirus outbreak

Germany’s fiscal and financial self-destructive policies

Palliative care: an indispensable component for a better quality of life

2014 will bring more European Union for the big guys and less for the weak

Parliament and Council agree drastic cuts to plastic pollution of environment

EU will not deliver on promises without democratic accountability

COP21 Breaking News: Conference of Youth Focuses on Hard Skills to Drive Greater Climate Action

The West – the EU and the US – is writing off Turkey’s Erdogan

These 3 innovative solar farms show why this renewable technology is hot right now

Idlib deal could save three million ‘from catastrophe’ says UN chief, as militants are urged to lay down arms

‘Favour dialogue’ over violence, UN chief urges all parties following clashes in Mali’s capital

Drug laws must be amended to ‘combat racial discrimination’, UN experts say

Global Citizen-Volunteer Internships

London is becoming the world’s first National Park City

MEPs want ambitious funding for cross-border projects to connect people

Voices of Afghan women ‘must be heard at the table in the peace process and beyond’ UN deputy chief tells Security Council

5 factors driving the Chinese lawtech boom

Afghanistan: UN mission condemns deadly attack near Kabul airport

Detecting online child sexual abuse requires strong safeguards

Doctors without borders

This powerful tool will help corporates make the switch to 100% renewables

Germany readies to pay for the Brexit gap in EU finance

Helping small businesses fight cybercrime benefits the global ecosystem

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