The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)—a proposed agreement between the United States and the European Union—hasn’t made many headlines lately and some speculated that it would suffer the same fate as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), from which President Donald Trump withdrew in the early days of his presidency.
But US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross set the record straight before an audience at the Atlantic Council in Washington last week.
“When we withdrew from TPP we deliberately did not withdraw from TTIP,” he said, “precisely to send the message that we are open for discussion.” This appears to have been the first statement by the Trump administration on its posture with regard to the TTIP.
In order to conclude an agreement, the two sides will have to overcome several obstacles. The TTIP was supposed to be concluded last year after 36 months of talks that started in July 2013. Sticking points included anti-corruption provisions, economic subsidies, public procurement market, and Washington’s dissatisfactions about Brussels’ offers on services.
Then, there is the matter of Brexit, which came along while TTIP was being negotiated. It’s possible that
TTIP can’t move forward until the terms of the United Kingdom’s commercial relationship with the EU are clear—and those talks are far from over. President Trump has expressed enthusiasm for a bilateral agreement with the UK and may want to prioritize those talks over a deal with the EU, which he may regard as multilateral, an arrangement he doesn’t care for.
On the issue of bilateralism versus multilateralism, Trump seemed to be pushing for a bilateral US trade deal with Germany at a White House meeting earlier this year with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, but Merkel set Trump straight on the issue when she said, “The European Union…negotiates on behalf of the member states…Indeed, this would be then qualify as a bilateral agreement between the EU and the United States if we had it.”
Source: Global Tade Mag