U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, announced the Trump’s Administration intention to explore whether the stalled talks on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) can be revived.
A possible revival of the TTIP, seems to be another U-turn, which are rapidly becoming a common feature of this U.S. Administration, which contradicts President Trump’s electoral pledge to discontinue with damaging free trade talks. In this context, Secretary Ross stated that his priority to revive the TTIP is to reduce the U.S.’ $ 146 Billion trans-Atlantic trade deficit – which is second to the U.S.-China $347 billion trade deficit.
The TTIP talks, which commenced in 2013 with some fanfare, effectively stalled after some several setbacks.
On the U.S. side, talks ran into trouble after President Trump was elected on a perceived trade-protectionist ticket. Think of President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement.
On the EU side, the TTIP talks were also served a severe blow with civil society opposition and the fall-out of the EU free trade deal with Canada (CETA). Brexit doesn’t help either.
Not to mention a 16 May 2017 ruling by the European Court of Justice in which the Court ruled that the EU’ Singapore trade deal could not be concluded by the European Commission alone. It does not bode well for any EU free trade deal, including a post-Brexit deal with the UK, if every national parliament of EU member states have to authorize the deal. We all saw what the Belgian region of Wallonia nearly did to the CETA….
The question is whether both sides can revive the TTIP. Even with a more popular U.S. President, the negotiations became stuck. Furthermore, given the tensions between the current U.S. Administration and Europe, especially Germany, on a whole range of topics – including climate change and NATO solidarity, it’s questionable if the politicians can swallow their ego’s and conclude a mutual beneficial trade for their people’s.