The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is an ambitious effort to broaden and deepen ties between the world’s two largest economies, the United States and the European Union. Together, the United States and the EU represent nearly half of global GDP and provide more than two-thirds of global foreign direct investment. While the United States and the EU are already closely integrated, removing remaining barriers to trade and investment through a comprehensive agreement would generate growth and jobs on both sides of the Atlantic and would fortify the global rules-based trading system.
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U.S. Chamber of Commerce Priorities
The U.S. Chamber seeks a TTIP agreement that is comprehensive, ambitious and high standard.
- Comprehensive means that the agreement must cover trade in industrial goods, food and agricultural goods, services, investment, government procurement, protection of intellectual property (IP) rights, and regulatory issues. There should be no exclusions.
- Ambitious means that negotiators must find creative ways to address emerging opportunities in the 21st century economy, such as trade in digital goods and services, as well as long-standing challenges in such areas as sanitary and phyto-sanitary (SPS) barriers, technical barriers to trade (TBT), and regulatory barriers to trade and investment.
- High Standard means that the TTIP must set the highest possible standards for others to emulate in such areas as investment, IP protections, competition policy, treatment of state-owned enterprises, and localization requirements.
Specifically, TTIP should address:
- Tariffs: Eliminate virtually all consumer, industrial, and agricultural tariffs upon entry into force. For those that remain, specify phase-out periods that are more ambitious than scheduled tariff elimination under other U.S. and EU trade agreements.
- Services: Liberalize all modes of delivery and apply to all sectors, including financial services.
- Customs and Trade Facilitation: Facilitate the flow of goods in the supply chain by adopting common customs electronic data filing systems, minimizing inefficiencies in security regimes, raising de minimis levels, and modernizing customs and border clearance processes.
- Traditional Nontariff Barriers: Include disciplines that ensure the least trade restrictive approaches to the regulation of goods. TTIP should support a common agreement on what constitutes an international standard, and the agreement should encourage EU acceptance of U.S. standards as European norms.
- Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary Measures (SPS): Include a binding chapter that reinforces the importance of science- and risk-based regulations and decision making.
- Regulatory Cooperation: Establish a framework for regulatory cooperation across all sectors, including financial services, to enable regulators to become more efficient, transparent, and effective in fulfilling their mandate to protect consumers, investors, workers, and the environment. U.S. and EU regulators should determine where their regimes reach functionally equivalent outcomes that would allow a product or service sold in one market to be made available in the other. TTIP should require that U.S. and EU regulators consult one another if a proposed measure affects a significant proportion of transatlantic trade. The agreement should also provide a governing process to guide cooperation on a horizontal and sector-specific basis.
- Digital Trade: Create a binding framework with clear, consistent, and predictable rules on cloud computing and other information and communication technology services, cross-border data flows, and prohibitions on requirements for local servers or infrastructure. Such a framework must include a nonexhaustive list of data transfer mechanisms that preserve cross-border data flows and enable flexibility to best achieve high levels of privacy protection (including “equivalence” on a sectoral basis) and continuing cooperative work on security matters. These provisions will not only bolster transatlantic digital trade but will serve as a global benchmark.
- Investment: Include a full investment promotion and protection chapter, reflecting the high standard of protections in the 2012 U.S. model Bilateral Investment Treaty. This must include a meaningful Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism.
- Intellectual Property Rights: Commit both sides to further improve existing laws, regulatory measures, and standards regarding IP protection. Where differences are significant, U.S. and EU regulators should strive to harmonize around best practices. Joint efforts to raise the standard of IP protection also can serve as the basis for promoting economic growth associated with robust IP protection and enforcement in third countries.
- Government Procurement: Establish that the EU and the United States will commit to consider bids to provide goods and services from firms based in either the United States or the EU on a fully non-discriminatory basis.
- Competition: Demonstrate unified transatlantic leadership in highlighting acceptable transparency and due process obligations regarding competition enforcement proceedings and in ensuring that state-owned enterprises comply with their multilateral and bilateral trade and investment obligations.
Potential Benefits of TTIP
- Tariff reductions alone will increase two-way trade by $120 billion and combined GDP by $180 billion after five years.
- An ambitious and comprehensive deal will boost total U.S. exports to the EU by $300 billion annually, add $125 billion to U.S. GDP per year, and increase the purchasing power of the typical American family by nearly $900—with similar benefits for EU citizens.
- This will support approximately 740,000 new U.S. jobs, equivalent to the entire working population of New Hampshire, from trade liberalization alone—with even more gains from increased EU investment in the United States.
- TTIP will raise global standards by bringing closer together two economies with a combined GDP of more than $32 trillion, representing nearly half the global economy.
- An ambitious TTIP will increase net exports from all 50 states—particularly goods trade from advanced manufacturing (e.g., motor vehicles and chemicals).
Status and Next Steps
Talks were launched in July 2013, and 11 rounds of negotiations have been held to date. The 12th round is scheduled to take place in Brussels in early 2016. Negotiators have made progress at the technical level, but miscues on both sides, especially around agricultural tariffs, have slowed momentum.
U.S. Perceptions: Public awareness of TTIP in the United States is low. To the extent it exists, the narrative generally has been positive. No members of Congress have expressed outright opposition, and even U.S. labor unions have expressed cautious optimism about a potential deal with the EU. Attitudes may shift as the negotiations proceed, but the starting point is relatively positive.
European Perceptions: TTIP has generated vocal opposition in Europe. While member state leaders all have publicly voiced their support, public opposition has risen, especially in Germany, Austria, and even the United Kingdom, albeit to a lesser extent. Anti-trade forces are playing on fears about American agriculture and data privacy, among other topics. Opposition has crystallized, in particular, about inclusion of an effective ISDS mechanism in the agreement.
What’s Next?: Political leaders on both sides of the Atlantic continue to articulate strong support for a robust agreement. At the June 2015 G7 Summit in Germany, leaders underlined their desire to boldly move ahead: “We will immediately accelerate work on all TTIP issues, ensuring progress in all the elements of the negotiations, with the goal of finalizing understandings on the outline of an agreement as soon as possible, preferably by the end of this year.”
Negotiators from both the United States and the EU have explicitly stated a desire to conclude the negotiations by the end of President Obama’s term in January 2017. Far more urgency and political engagement is needed to achieve that goal. Ultimately, the U.S. Chamber’s focus is on securing a comprehensive and ambitious agreement, rather than finishing according to an arbitrary timeline.
The U.S. Chamber’s Role in Promoting TTIP
The Chamber was among the earliest advocates calling for stronger transatlantic commercial ties well before the establishment in 2011 of the High Level Working Group for Jobs and Growth, which set the stage for the launch of TTIP. In addition to direct advocacy, the Chamber serves as the secretariat for the broad-based Business Coalition for Transatlantic Trade (BCTT), which brings together hundreds of companies and associations to provide input to negotiators and generate political support for an ambitious and comprehensive agreement.
 “A Transatlantic Zero Agreement: Estimating the Gains from Transatlantic Free Trade in Goods,” European Centre for International Political Economy, 2010.
 “Reducing Transatlantic Barriers to Trade and Investment,” Centre for Economic Policy Research, 2013.
 “TTIP and the Fifty States: Jobs and Growth from Coast to Coast,” 2013.