Obama Administration Takes First Steps toward New U.S.-EU Trade Agreement


Though there may be some budgetary hurdles in the future, this week the Obama Administration took the first step toward a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the European Union by notifying Congress of its intent to start negotiations.

Originally teased in last month's State of the Union address, the TTIP has quickly become one of the President's top trade priorities, along with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which last week gained a new potential member as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that Japan hoped to join TPP negotiations in earnest. Taken together, the TTIP and TPP signal an effort by the Obama Administration to build on the United States' existing trade relationships that are already some of the strongest in the world.

In particular, the economic relationship between the U.S. and the EU currently generates goods and services trade flows of about $2.7 billion a day, according to a 2012 estimate. Exporters on both sides of the Atlantic already have few hoops to jump through in order to sell to their cross-ocean counterparts, but since the volume of trade between the U.S. and the EU is already so high, any further reduction in trade barriers could provide exponential increases.

"The decision to launch negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership reflects the broadly shared conviction that transatlantic trade and investment can be an even stronger driver of mutual job creation, growth and increased competitiveness," said Demetrios Marantis, Acting U.S. Trade Representative, in his notification letter to Congress. "With average U.S. and EU tariffs already quite low, new and innovative approaches to reducing the adverse impact on transatlantic commerce of non-tariff barriers must be a significant focus of the negotiations."

- Jacob Barron, CICP, NACM staff writer

 

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