Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)

 Read the full description of the “Transatlantic research policy project proposal” – FEPS in collaboration with the Global Progressive Forum, the Fondation Jean Jaurès, Policy Network, SOLIDAR, and other progressive think tanks

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is being currently negotiated between the European Union and the United States. Since their launch, the talks have featured four rounds (July 2013, November 2013, December 2013 and March 2014). The primary goal of the TTIP is to remove barriers allowing a greater exchange between the United States (US) and the European Union (EU) enabling mutual access to domestic markets for the trading of goods, services, as also for facilitating investments, application and admission of the public-sector contracts.  At present, the negotiations touch upon areas, which following the official communication of the European Commission can be classified into three clusters:

-       Market access (with questions of tariffs, trade of services, issues of public procurement)

-       Regulations (with challenges of compatibility and technical barriers (TBTs), as also sanitary and phytosanitary issues (SPS))

-       Rules (with attention to commitment to sustainable development, labour, energy, raw materials, customs etc.)

The wide ranges of issues are the clear indication in how far TTIP may become a profound turning point for both the economies. Such a change is anticipated naturally with different assessments – some of them hoping for a “New Deal” to be established herewith, and the others fearing that this is yet another step to reconfirm the rule of the contemporary ‘mainstream’ international political economics. Less pessimistic way of reading it would then mean that the blind trust in international markets, free from the distortions caused controls and regulation, would “automatically” promote inclusive and sustainable development. The more realistic one could go as far as seeing TTIP as essential tool facilitating further demolishing of the regulated capitalism

The doubts are further enhanced by the fact that the negotiations are led in a way, which induces the criticism regarding their transparency. Even though the European Commission holds a clear mandate from the European Council – still there are legitimate questions being raised about the involvement of the European Parliament in the course of the negotiations. Taking into account the complexity of the agreement, as also the numerous steps that need to be taken before its finalization, it appears very reductive for the EP to be given a prerogative of either reaffirming or rejecting the agreement at the end. Similar criticism is filed by the civil society organisations, among which even those included in the consultation, point out still unsatisfying quality of answers. To that extent, both the institutions and the civil society long for more openness, transparency and inclusion. This shows a clear shortcoming in terms of deliberative democracy.

To overcome this predicament, a more constructivist approach is needed. On one side, there is a need for a better understanding of what the TTIP is. Even though the name emphasis the question of “trade”, clearly its scope points out to a number of areas that the agreement would need to encompass and within which the legislation may not even exist. An example of that is the entire area of digital economy, which is on the rise and where provisions not yet have been conceptualized. On the other hand, it is essential to set a clear ambition and evaluation criteria for the future TTIP. In that sense, the TTIP negotiations should be seen as laying fundaments for a renewed transatlantic partnership, which could lead towards a new era of the long-haul transatlantic relations in the perspective of a new global order. Taking into account the above mentioned ideological underpinning, succeeding in designing TTIP that would live up to those ambitions means that there is a set of political choices, which have to be addressed and made. The decisions on them must be values-driven, forward looking and responsible.

Seminars and roundtables

The future of EU-US relations: Economic and political reflections on the TTIP. Washington. October 2014

High level dinner meeting on TTIP. Brussels. June 2014

Research and policy related output

Selected background material

Progressive Values for the 21st Century, Next Left Book Series 4, E. Stetter, K. Duffek & A. Skrzypek (eds.), FEPS / Renner Institut, Brussels / Vienna 2011, ISBN: 978–3–85464-034-9

The Next Global Deal., FEPS Queries, N°01 (4) / 2011, Brussels, ISSN: 2032-9113

Building New Communities, Next Left Book Series vol. 5, E. Stetter, K. Duffek & A. Skrzypek (eds.), FEPS / Renner Institut / IGLP Harvard Law School, Brussels / Vienna / Boston, 2012, ISBN: 978-3-85464-036-3

For a New Social Deal, Next Left Book Series vol. 6, E. Stetter, K. Duffek & A. Skrzypek (eds.), FEPS / Renner Institut, Brussels / Vienna / Warsaw,  Oficyna Wydawnicza ASPRA, 2012, ISBN: 978-3-85464-038-7

Progressive Politics After the Crash. Governing From the Left., O. Cramme, P. Diamond & M. McTernan (eds.), Policy Network / FEPS Next Left, I. B. Tauris, London / New York 2013, ISBN: 978-1-78076-763-5

Francois, J. (2013) Reducing Transatlantic Barriers to Trade and Investment. An economic assessment. Final Project. Center for Economic Policy Research. London

Lamy, P. (2014) The Perilous Petreat from Global Trade Rules. Project Syndicate

Stetter, E. (2013) TTIP could work if the pieces were in place … but are they? BlogActive 

Stiglitz, J. (2013) The Free-Trade Charage, Project Syndicate