International Business and Technology Blog

TTIP - It's now or never

Posted by John Worthington on Tue, Apr 26, 2016

United States Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman was relaxed, bullish and optimistic during the April 2016 State International Development Organization (SIDO) meeting, as he discussed the US ongoing trade negotiations, notably the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The plan agreed by USTR with their European Union (EU) counterparts, is to deliver TTIP by December 2016. If not, TTIP could well be booted down the road, even shelved for years! Also during the SIDO occasion, EU Ambassador to the US, David O’Sullivan, confirmed the agreed sense of urgency. Both EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and Froman will “do what it takes”, upping the tempo of their meetings and negotiations, to get TTIP done before the end of the Obama administration. That’s the now or never plan.

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Tags: EU insider, All posts, Transatlantic trade

TTIP: Of apples and pears and agri

Posted by John Worthington on Fri, Jan 29, 2016

European apples and pears for the USA - Draft rule paves the way for EU exports of apples and pears to the US! This is a  great example of what goes on behind the headlines in negotiations between the European Union and the Unites States of America regarding the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The TTIP negotiations kicked off in 2013 and so far 11 rounds have taken place, the last one in Miami in October 2015. The EU request to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to simplify market access for fruit growers, covers only eight EU Member States (Belgium, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Portugal).

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Tags: EU insider, All posts, Transatlantic trade

TTIP: size does matter

Posted by John Worthington on Tue, Dec 01, 2015

The European Union (EU) Delegation to the United States just published another “eu matters” entitled “Partners of Choice in a Complex World” looking at i) the scale of the EU-US economic relationship and ii) the many areas where the US and EU partner to confront global challenges.

Concurrently, diligently in the background, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiation teams are preparing for the next round of negotiations, scheduled for early 2016. Cecilia Malmström, EU Trade Commissioner stated, “We want to use trade agreements to set ambitious and binding standards, to address global challenges such as protecting the environment and labour rights in a globalised world”. Proposals are being put forward on a range of issues including collaboration with the International Labor Organization (ILO) to implement strong labor standards, combat illegal logging, fishing and other transnational environmental issues, limiting the use of antibiotics in animal production to help combat antibiotic resistance as well as the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) chapter of TTIP that would establish a Committee on SME issues.

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Tags: EU insider, All posts, Transatlantic trade

TTIP, TPP and clear sunny skies

Posted by John Worthington on Fri, Oct 30, 2015

A great choice of venue, the Miami sunshine played its part in the successful 11th round of Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations from October 19 - 23, 2015. It has been three long months since the US and EU TTIP negotiating teams last met. Now they gathered, suitably attired for the warm weather they would confront and the well-rehearsed and prepared negotiating program, including the obligatory Stakeholder Presentations (all about being inclusive) on October 21st and the Chief Negotiators Briefing (all about being open and transparent) at the closing on October 23rd.

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Tags: EU insider, All posts, Transatlantic trade

TTIP round #10, making life of small-medium sized enterprises easier

Posted by John Worthington on Wed, Sep 16, 2015

Just over two years ago in July 2013, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations began; relatively recent in the grand scheme of the past 500 years of transatlantic trade relations. Practiced in the art of international trade negotiations, US and EU trade teams run permanent parallel trade negotiations, currently with more than 20 other countries and trading blocs (including China, India, ASEAN…), and consider TTIP progress as “very good”. Back in July 2015, trade teams met in Brussels for the 10th TTIP Round of Negotiations, described as low key. EU chief negotiator Ignacio Garcia Bercero, summed up the week’s work: “At their last meeting in June, the leaders of the G7, including Presidents Juncker, Tusk and Obama, gave the EU and US clear indications to intensify our discussions on TTIP and identify the way forward on all areas” and that this has now been achieved. However, today TTIP is about politics, and finding that way forward. A political review has been convened for later this September 2015 between EU Commissioner Cecelia Malmström and US Trade Representative Mike Froman, and is understood to be critical as to where TTIP goes next in terms of timing and action. The other takeaway from round #10 as Bercero aptly put it: we want to make the life of SMEs easier”.

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Tags: All posts, Transatlantic trade

USA & UK: Do you need a dedicated website for your English-speaking market across the Atlantic?

Posted by Tereza Santava on Wed, Jul 29, 2015

The UK and the USA are among each other’s top export markets.The USA is the largest single destination for British exports, and the UK is America’s largest export market in the EU (#5 overall). UK <=> US trade alone equals $214 billion a year. 

Many of our clients with an American/British English website ask whether it’s really necessary to build a country specific website for the UK/US markets given the language similarity. Ideally - yes, you should build a country specific website for each of your geographical markets, but it is of a lesser urgency than building a website for let’s say a German/French market that speaks a completely different language.

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Tags: All posts, Online presence & marketing, Transatlantic trade

The transatlantic economy: Bigger than ever

Posted by John Worthington on Tue, Jul 14, 2015

The transatlantic economy is bigger than ever. Big, trillions big and compared to other international economic relations, the biggest by far. US foreign direct investment (FDI) in Europe totals >$13.6 (£8.4) trillion. By return of compliment, European FDI in the USA has reached >$9 (£5.8) trillion. Do the math, and we have >$22 (£14.2) trillion of transatlantic FDI. Need more convincing? The transatlantic economy generates >$5.5 (£3.5) trillion in annual total commercial sales. The detail is to be found in this year’s “Transatlantic Economy 2015 Report” which puts it succinctly: “Despite economic turbulence, the US and Europe remain each other’s most important markets. No other commercial artery in the world is as integrated…” The Transatlantic Economy 2015 Report is an Annual Survey of Jobs, Trade and Investment, conducted by authorities on the subject including John Hopkins University, the American Chamber of Commerce to the European Union (AmCham EU) and the Trans-Atlantic Business Council (TABC). The full version comprises 112 information packed pages, reminding us all (which we do need from time to time) of the pre-eminent importance of the economic relationship between the 62 European countries (28 of which are in the European Union) and the 50 United States. The report is very readably structured into: A Tale of Two Economies, The Post-Crisis Transatlantic Economy, The 50 US States and, the last chapter is entitled, European Countries. These are then followed by the somewhat heavy going statistic packed appendices, of which there are more than 40 pages! If you are looking for US/EU stats, look no further. For the time pressed amongst you, I strongly recommend the Transatlantic Economy 2015 Pocket Version, a more digestible 28 pages. Let me share with you some of the key points that I found most revealing and useful.

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Tags: EU insider, FDI, Transatlantic trade

TTIP: don't blame it on me

Posted by John Worthington on Tue, Jul 14, 2015

Cecilia Malmström, European Commissioner for Trade, made the point clearly: “If the European Parliament (EP) or the Bundestag vote against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) or the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), don’t blame it on me. It’s the national governments that need to convince their people on the benefits>.” TTIP requires votes in favor by the EP and each of the 28 national parliaments. So once negotiations are complete, TTIP will face a mere 29 democratic hurdles. Across the EU, media (primarily social media) feeds us a regular anti-TTIP diet. Yet, the trade and investment benefits are so clearly self-evident to many of the Europeans who are responsible for such agreements, that they think that they are no longer obliged to repeatedly explain and justify TTIP. An insight into why is the background of over 1,400 such successful agreements negotiated by the EU over the past 50 years supporting European companies as they trade and invest internationally. And the result is, in case you were unaware, that the EU 28 is now the world’s biggest trader and investor and recipient of foreign investments.

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Tags: EU insider, All posts, Transatlantic trade

TTIP: Consumer concerns and benefits

Posted by John Worthington on Fri, Jun 12, 2015

The European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) is an alliance of >380 European organizations campaigning against TTIP and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), a free trade agreement between Canada and the EU. Members of ECI “believe that these two trade and investment agreements must be stopped because they pose a threat to democracy, the rule of law, the environment, health, public services as well as consumer and labour rights”. The basic ECI premise is that these agreements “increase the power of multinationals at the expense of democracy and the general good”. During the past month, there have been hundreds of anti-TTIP protests organized across Europe, none more so than in Germany.  

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Tags: EU insider, All posts, Transatlantic trade

TTIP round #9 (trailing Mayweather)

Posted by John Worthington on Tue, May 05, 2015

New York, NY hosted, for four days between the 20 to 24 April 2015, the 9th round of U.S. – EU Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations. Traditionally, this respectfully rotated between Brussels, Belgium and Washington DC. What next? Las Vegas, to compete with Mayweather and Pacquiao? Somehow the latter's $300M television rights alone makes the drawing power competition somewhat unequal. Despite, or even perhaps because of the venue change, the US and EU Chief Negotiators, Dan Mullaney and Ignacio Garcia Bercero led their respective negotiating teams fighting strategically, leveraging data and information harvested from previous rounds and covered much needed ground.

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Tags: EU insider, All posts, Transatlantic trade