TTIP : 2014, a decisive year for the United States.

Alain-Patrick Umucyo By Alain-Patrick Umucyo, 11th Jan 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>News>Politics

2014 is the time for the United States to step up the negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

President Obama's advocacy

The negotiations for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) started in July 2013. While the European Union has fully entered upon the procedure that should lead to the biggest bilateral trade agreement ever negotiated(1), the United States are still hesitant. President Obama has advocated since September 2013 for the Congress to grant him special authority to negotiate this agreement, among others.(2) His appeal seems to have finally drawn the consideration of the legislative body. On December 10th 2013, Dave Camp, House Ways and Means Committe Chairman, revealed that President Obama could benefit from a Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill in early 2014.(3) This negotiating authority would give leeway to the negotiators of the TTIP to operate without the discomfort of Congress being able to amend their work subsequently. A few days after Dave Camp's announcement, Dan Mullaney, chief US Negotiator, emphasized the importance of securing it.(4)

The Trade Promotion Authority (TPA)

TPA derives from two constitutional provisions :
_ Article 2, section 2, clause 2, of the US Constitution provides for the President the power to negotiate treaties ;
_ Article 1, section 8, clauses 1 and 3, reserves for the Congress the power “to impose duties and tariffs and to regulate foreign commerce.”(5) As explained by the Office of the United States Trade Representative : “TPA outlines Congressional guidance to the President on trade policy priorities and negotiating objectives. (It) establishes Congressional requirements for the Administration to notify and consult with Congress, with the private sector and other stakeholders and with the public during the negotiations of trade agreements. (It also) (...) sets the procedures for Congressional consideration of bills to implement the agreements.”(6) TPA enables a so-called “fast track” procedure thus departing from the normal treaty-making requirements by securing an up-or-down vote on the concluded treaty. It is a key element in assuring the trading partners a full commitment of the US in the negotiations.(7)

Congress has been a reliable ally for the executive branch regarding the commercial prosperity of the United States. There is no doubt it will grant a Trade Promotion Authority. Much doubt is about the acceleration effect of a TPA on the pace of the negotiations about the TTIP.(8)

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(1) Alain-Patrick Umucyo, 'Négociations pour le TTIP : la procédure au sein de l’Union européenne' (AgoraVox, 16 August 2013) <> accessed 11 January 2014
(2) Doug Palmer, ‘President Obama speaks out on Trade Promotion Authority’ (Politico, 19 September 2013) <> accessed 11 January 2014
(3) Elvina Nawaguna, ‘U.S. Congress could OK trade promotion bill in early 2014, lawmaker says’ (Reuters, 10 December 2013) <> accessed 11 January 2014
(4) Transcript : Chief negotiators Dan Mullaney and Ignacio Garcia Bercero Hold a Press Conference Following the Third Round of Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) Talks, Department of State (Washington DC, 20 December 2013) <> accessed 11 January 2014
(5) Jane M. Smith, Daniel T. Shedd, Brandon J. Murrill, 'Why Certain Trade Agreements Are Approved as Congressional-Executive Agreements Rather Than Treaties ' (CRS Report Congress. Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress, Congressional Research Service 2013) 1 footnote 5 <> accessed 11 January 2014
(6) ‘Trade Promotion Authority’ (What is TPA ?, Office of the United States Trade Representative) <> accessed 11 January 2014
(7) ‘Trade Promotion Authority’ (Why Does America Need Trade Promotion Authority ?, Reason 5: To Do Any of the Above, America Needs TPA, U.S. Chamber of Commerce) <> accessed 11 January 2014
(8) Alain-Patrick Umucyo, 'The United States have to be patient' (Wikinut, 06 January 2014) <> accessed 11 January 2014

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
12th Jan 2014 (#)

Bringing down trade barriers should benefit not only trade but lead to better understanding among countries - siva

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author avatar Ptrikha
19th May 2014 (#)

What hurts more is one country imposing big tariff barriers and another one expected to have less of them, causing wide discrepancy.

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