THE TPP AND TTIP ARE LIKELY TO FAIL?
Monday, September 26, 2016
EU: NO TTIP AGREEMENT WITH US UNDER OBAMA RULE
Saturday, 24 September, 2016 - 15:30
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the United States and the European Union (EU) won't be finished until the end of this year, Slovak Economy Minister Peter Ziga said Friday.
"It emerged from the discussion between the ministers on the state of the talks that a conclusion of negotiations with the USA by the end of this year is unrealistic," Ziga told a press conference after informal meeting of EU trade and economy ministers in Bratislava.
"Another important element will be the upcoming presidential elections in the USA. Any agreement, including TTIP, has to be balanced and beneficial for the EU. The quality of the agreement is more important than the speedy adoption thereof," said Ziga.
"We've shifted the debate on the agreement further. It will be discussed by top officials of individual countries at the Council of the EU on October 20-21 with prime ministers taking part," said Ziga.
Meanwhile, the economy and trade ministers will discuss the issue further on Nov. 11, taking into account the results of the summit.
THE TPP AND TTIP ARE LIKELY TO FAIL?
On Tuesday, September 20nd, Brussels hosted a large-scale protest against the signing of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Just before, mass demonstrations took place in various German cities.
The reaction of European citizens to the TTIP is quite predictable. It is not the first year of the initiative that groups and non-governmental organizations in Europe have been closely observing the negotiations between the US and the Brussels bureaucracy. First, the problem is that they take place behind closed doors, which violates democratic principles. Second, the interests of transnational corporations dominate over both the rights and freedoms of citizens and states.
Threat for EU
Even a cursory analysis of this agreement’s implications reveals serious threats to the EU economy. The first ten years would bring losses for European exports. Northern Europe, France and Germany would be severely affected. There would be a GDP decline and fall in employment income. Work place cut backs and budget deficit increases are expected in all European countries.
Given Brexit and the migration crisis, similar changes could have disastrous consequences for the EU. Therefore, the dissatisfaction of ordinary Europeans is affirmed.
In addition, it should be noted that NATO is an additional element of the transatlantic partnership. The US not only wants to install an additional mode of economic dependence upon European countries, but also preserve NATO as an engine for a new transatlantic partnership which, according to the White House, would improve mutual security and transatlantic agreement. In other words, it would make the EU vulnerable to the US’ liberal political elite’s “solutions.”
Why does Washington need such? The answer is evident: to maintain the status of a global hegemon in the full sense of this word. Still no one questions the US’ military might (from GDP indicators and defense to the availability of a vast network of of military bases around the world and partnerships with satellites).
The United States must integrate economic and financial instruments into its foreign policy that can be called the geo-economics, or they risk losing their status of the world power, says a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, Robert Blackwill ( also the Envoy of the President of the USA in Iraq, and US Ambassador in India from 2001-2003) and his colleague Jennifer Harris (a member of the State Department under the Obama administration) in their book War by Other Means: Geoeconomics and Statecraft. At the same time, they openly say that the USA should use its position as an energy superpower to secure transactions on the Trans-Pacific (TPP) and Transatlantic (TTIP) partnerships that would help counterbalance Chinese and Russian geo-economic policy.
We do not even have to read between the lines to understand the true purpose of the Trans-Pacific and the Transatlantic Partnerships initiated by the United States. First, despite the fact that they include several Latin American countries, they are intended for the long-term containment of China's economic expansion. Secondly, they are directed against Russia, or more precisely, preventing closer cooperation between the EU countries and the Russian Federation.
It is no accident, according to Pew Research Center poll in early 2016, that the most reliable satellites of Washington from Eastern Europe - Romania, Poland, Lithuania and Estonia - were for the transatlantic partnership with more than 70% of “yes” votes, while the economic engine of the EU, Germany, gained only 39% in favor of this project.
As it was stated on the White House website, this partnership is an opportunity for the US to establish a number of rules for global trade in the 21st century. And this possibility appears once in a generation. The purpose of the agreement is to expand access to the fastest growing markets of the world while maintaining high standards of protection for American workers and consumers.
The importance of the TPP and TTIP agreements’ implementation is enshrined in the US’ new national strategywhich was signed by President Barack Obama in the beginning of February 2015, and it is a kind of doctrinal guidance for decision-makers for the next five years. It says that the TPP and TTIP set high global standards for labor law and environmental protection and eliminate barriers to exports, thus turning the United States into the center of a free trade area covering two-thirds of the world economy. The goal is to use this position, together with a highly skilled workforce, a strong rule of law, and an excess of energy available, to make America the production platform of choice and the first for investment. In addition to these major regional agreements, it is important to achieve an innovative agreement on the liberalization of the trade of services, information technology, and environmental goods while the United States is a world leader in innovation.
But these postulates are not imperative for the American people. Obama lobbied for the interests of transnational corporations, not those of the US. The skepticism towards both projects –- the TPP and TTIP – originated not only in the EU and the Pacific region. Part of the American political elite actively opposes the ratification of the TPP agreement.
Problem with TPP
Former Deputy of the US Trade Representative Wendy Cutler announced last week at a press conference in Tokyo that the US would lose credibility in the Asia-Pacific region if the agreement was not ratified by the US Congress before the end of this year.
The Republicans, supervising this direction, said earlier that before the elections on November 8th, the ratification of the agreement could not be considered. A number of American entrepreneurs, like their European counterparts, have found compelling justification to believe that these projects will not bring real benefits or pursue the real interests of the US and the US economy in particular.
Outstanding issues with the TPP can be found among stakeholders in the United States, including farmers producing pork, the tobacco industry, the financial services sector, and the pharmaceutical industry that all still exist. But a renegotiation is not possible because of the many delicate differences among the TPP countries.
The agreement is supposed to take into account the ASEAN activities and China's economic activity not only in Asia but also in Europe. The EU is now in a trap of anti-Russian sanctions. Therefore, it can not rely on preferences from Russia. However, the EU has the chance to restore its sovereignty and economic freedom as long as the TTIP is not signed and ratified.
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