Though the EU-US TTIP agreement is widely thought to be “in the freezer”, evidence given to confirmation hearings by Robert Lighthizer, Donald Trump’s nominee for US Trade Representative, seems to indicate the US Administration is still open-minded about its future.
In a March 10 background briefing with reporters, US officials surprisingly revealed the Trump administration has “not formulated a final position” on whether or not it will continue to pursue a proposed Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement with the EU.
US Congressional Republican leaders made their pitch on February 1 and 2 for handling NAFTA renegotiation and border taxes. Trump’s earlier China commitments seem to have disappeared.
The EU’s Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström said in a January 24 speech that the “The election of Donald Trump seems likely to put our EU-US [TTIP] negotiations firmly in the freezer at least for a while”.
The developed world depends almost entirely on imports from poorer countries for its clothing. The world’s biggest apparel importer looks certain to transform its attitude to importing that apparel
Practically every observer thought Hillary Clinton would win the US Presidential election this morning. Most went on to predict her mild hostility to further trade liberalisation meant the short-term prospects for global trade would be looking uncertain by now.
Donald Trump, though, has been consistent and unambiguous about his trade policy.
Why is the TPP (and with it the TTIP and the TiSA) so close to death?
On June 8, leaders of the G7 – including the heads of government in the US, UK, Germany, France and Italy – announced a “goal of … the outline of an agreement… by the end of this year” on the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP.) On June 9, the European Parliament suspended a debate on TTIP because it was impossible to find a form of words legislators could agree on.
The European Parliament’s trade committee voted for a compromise TTIP proposal on May 28, leaving open some variation of the controversial Investor/state dispute settlement process previously been though to be opposed by a majority of MEPs.
EU announces review of extending its Customs Union with Turkey – but won’t let Turkey into negotiations on TTIP (which Turkey wants to join). It says it will upgrade its free trade deal with Mexico to match its deal with Canada and TTIP – but Americans and some European politicians stay sniffy about its Trade Commissioners’s views on TTIP.
What’s the case for the trade deals – the multinational ones like TPP, TTIP, TiSA and the two-way ones like the EU-Vietnam FTA – there’s so much fuss about getting agreed? In a May 19 Sourcing Journal article I looked at what supporters are arguing. And found little to reassure me.
Though possibly temporary, the May 12 US Senate rejection of a proposal to speed up approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) also imperilled progress on other key trade issues – such as renewing of the AGOA programme, which expires on September 30. By late May 13, Senate deals seemed to offer greater likelihood of progress.
The EU and US will not finish negotiating their proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) in 2015, the EU’s chief negotiator admitted on April 28.