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.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Featured Stings

Half the world’s population is still offline. Here’s why that matters

How can consumers be effectively protected from insurance sellers?

GREXIT final wrap-up: nobody believed Aesop’s boy who cried wolf so many times

Ercom, cutting-edge Telco solutions from Europe

EU budget: Boosting cooperation between tax and customs authorities for a safer and more prosperous EU

The vicious cycle of poverty and exclusion spreads fast engulfing more children

The global economy isn’t working for women. Here’s what world leaders must do

European Confederation of Junior Enterprises hosts in Geneva the Junior Enterprise World Conference

Schaeuble wants IMF out and bailouts ‘a la carte’ with Germany only to gain

Eurozone banks to separate risky activities: Can they stay afloat?

EU Commission closer to imposing anti-dumping duties on Chinese solar panel imports?

Parliament sets up plan to fight the 3,600 criminal rings of EU

Force used against protestors in Gaza ‘wholly disproportionate’ says UN human rights chief

Germany objects to EU Commission’s plan for a Eurozone bank deposits insurance scheme but Berlin could go along

A day in the life of a refugee: the wait

Future EU farm policy: Agriculture MEPs urge fair funding, no renationalisation

Is a full course lunch, a new Commissioner and 2 million anti-TTIP citizens what you would call a “Fresh Start”?

The reason the world showed limited empathy to the Orlando victims

Does the world have strong enough institutions to handle risks like Trump and Brexit?

Economic sentiment and business climate stagnate in miserable euro area

Refugee crisis: Commission proposes a new plan urging EU countries to help Italy

Italian elections: a long political limbo is ahead

EU leads the torn away South Sudan to a new bloody civil war

EU elections: The louder the threats and the doomsaying the heavier the weight of the vote

Artificial Intelligence has a gender problem. Here’s what to do about it

Can Kiev make face to mounting economic problems and social unrest?

Why lay people don’t expect anything good from G20

Why France, Italy and the US press Germany to accept a cheaper euro and pay for Greece

IMF’s Lagarde: Ukraine must fight corruption

Nature is our strongest ally in ensuring global water security

Reflections on the the biggest refugee crisis since World War II

EU security and defence industry prepares positions for ‘producers’ and ‘customers’

We can build a carbon-neutral world by 2050. Here’s how

Tourism offers much to the EU gets a little

EU growth in 2015 to be again sluggish; Can the Juncker Commission fight this out?

“As German Chancellor I want to be able to cope with the merger of the real and digital economy”, Angela Merkel from Switzerland; the Sting reports live from World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

Merry Christmas from Erdogan, Putin, Mogherini and the Polish firefighter

Politics needs to “Youth UP” in order the ensure the future of our democracies

TTIP is not dead as of yet, the 15th round of negotiations in New York shouts

Benjamin Franklin was wrong: Amazon can tax evade

The EU lets the bankers go on rigging the benchmarks

Everyone has ‘a moral imperative’ to uphold the rights of persons with disabilities, says UN chief

A Brussels antithesis reveals where the EU is heading

The opportunity of studying Medicine abroad

Professional practices of primary health care for Brazilian health and gender inequality

Mining the deep seabed will harm biodiversity. We need to talk about it

The US may be “open” to reviving TTIP, while the EU designs the future of trade with China

At last a solid base for the European Banking Union

IMF: The global economy keeps growing except Eurozone

EU Trust Fund for Africa: Can it be beneficial for Italy and tackle the migration crisis in the Mediterranean?

The cuts on 2014 Budget will divide deeply the EU

Income inequality threatens the socio-political structures in developed countries

The US banks drive the developing world to a catastrophe

GSMA announces speakers for Mobile 360 Series-West Africa

Greece at the mercy of ECB while sailing through uncharted waters

Further reforms needed for a stronger and more integrated Europe

France pushes UK to stay and Germany to pay

Lack of investment and ambition means Youth Guarantee not reaching potential

Capital markets selloff: The financial moguls send messages to monetary authorities

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 )

w

Connecting to %s