PM Blog | Natasha Marie Levanti: TTIP
By Natasha Marie Levanti
With the next round of TTIP negotiations scheduled for 11-15 November, Natasha Marie Levanti takes a look at the US perspective.
The TTIP round intended for October in Brussels was cancelled, due to the US government shutdown. With knowledge of more surveillance, and outcries for investigations, reprisals, or rebuilding of trust, many of the topics in the TTIP are being overshadowed. The second round will now occur November 11-15 and it is important to be aware of some foreseeable issues.
Data protection and security has been recurrent since 2001, and most recently due to surveillance revelations. To address this, during the summer the United States promised ‘working groups’ on the subject. Now, as the issue has only grown since this promise, the United States faces a much larger challenge to rebuild trust.
Due mainly inquiries surrounding US based companies Google and Facebook, cyber security is on the radar. While there probably will remain to be differences in the regulation of cyber security, both
sides do appear willing to increase cooperation to help counter cybercrime.
The international implementation of European Union emissions trading system (ETS) had been delayed due to pressures partially derived from legislation passed by U.S. Congress in 2012 that ‘prohibits’ U.S. aircraft operators from engaging in ETS. The UN’s international civil aviation organization addressed this in early October, and a roadmap for cutting down global aviation emissions was revealed. Neither the US nor the EU was entirely happy, due to the internationalisation of ETS being curbed and the struggling U.S. aviation industry faced with upgrading commercial technologies.
With deeper trade relations some US officials bring up European energy security as a US interest. This is the diversification of European energy resources which is currently fairly reliant on Russian supplies,
as well as the increase of sustainable energy and consolidation of the EU’s internal energy market.
The fight against terror and Nato are not likely to be discussed at the trade talks; yet needs to be considered to establish the current level of cooperation between Europe and the United States. Both are led by joint US / European forces and since 2001, there has been a deeper level of communication and cooperation. This is linked to other issues such as cyber security and data protection as a tool used.
The euro-crisis greatly concerns the US, even without the TTIP. Despite the US administration offering encouragement, the US has been unable to actively help plan for recovery. The trade pact is a way that the US can be involved in the European economic recovery process. While unlikely that the United States will be allowed involvement in the establishment of a regulatory body for the monetary union, it may increase the power of US suggestion.
Sanitary and Phytosanitary regulations are consistently issues in transatlantic relations. These are issues such as genetically modified organisms (GMOs), hormone treated meats, and the qualifications for being organic, amongst other issues. A sign of progress is the US recently allowing EU beef following the BSE ban.
Both sides have sectors dependent agricultural subsidies, making viability better within the internal market. It remains to be seen, in order to increase or support forms of transatlantic agricultural trade, if the two very different systems can, or should be integrated, at least in part. The integration of these two systems, if attempted, could potentially be the biggest challenge.
To increase work flow across the Atlantic, licensing and qualification requirements need to be somewhat standardized. Since there are countless licensing or qualification requirements, the discussion of detail is daunting, though current discussions are intended to be broad based. At this stage, it is highly unlikely that new joint licensing ventures will be created, or that it will be easier for individuals to work on the
opposite side of the Atlantic from which they were born. Yet this will be a complex and a sensitive topic to both sides, wishing to preserve their ‘essence of being’.
All issues aside, it is important to bear in mind that the US and the EU already have some of the strongest ties in the world. From trade and investment relationships which support around 15 million jobs conducting over €2bn ($2.7bn) of trade daily, to the more recent increased cooperation and coordination in addressing international security problems, there is already a strong relationship.
The pact is estimated to boost jobs, economic growth, and positive relations on both sides of the Atlantic. As such, there may soon be an ever closer tie between the United States of America and the European
Natasha Marie Levanti was born and raised in the US. After studying in Denmark and completing research on Danish parliamentarians, she became ‘hooked’ on European politics and undertook a Masters in European public affairs from Maastricht University. With work at the European American chamber of commerce in New York City, Natasha believes in the necessity for positive transatlantic relations.