12 Stars

A Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is strongly pushed by the United States, a treaty for a transatlantic free trade zone. A transatlantic free trade zone would strenghten the occidental community at a time where other WTO trading powers as China gain weight and multilateral action gets more and more complicated. This week the TTIP negotiations are put on rest while the US government is shut down. What appears odd so far is that it is very difficult to say what Europe wants from the United States, what their tangible demands are. With business lobby pressure in Brussels mostly coming from tokens of US corporations and the German car industry the lack of vision on the European side is striking. Sure, buy America, Data protection rules, protection of trade secrets are natural European topics as chlorinated chicken, drugmeat and genetically modified organisms on the US side but in order to get something out of these negotiations Europe needs to build a better case to define its own transatlantic commercial interests. When you listen to Karel De Gucht ideas TTIP sounds less a means to an end but a naturally beneficial process and you wonder if he adapted well from his Belgium national level to the European weight class. In Germany politicians from all parties proposed to put TTIP on hold unless the Snowden spy cases are properly addressed. The dilemma here is the same as with Buy America, why make deals for stopping practice that is unacceptable first place? The main difference between the process on the US side and the European side is the stronger Parliament oversight of process in the US. Europe’s “default fast-track” certainly clouds the issues at stake more up and may in a quite counter-intuitive way translate into lesser weight.

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