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TTIP and the State of the Union Address

“21st  century businesses, including small businesses, need to sell more American products overseas.  Today, our businesses export more than ever, and exporters tend to pay their workers higher wages. But as we speak, China wants to write the rules for the world’s fastest-growing region. That would put our workers and businesses at a disadvantage. Why would we let that happen? We should write those rules. We should level the playing field. That’s why I’m asking both parties to give me trade promotion authority to protect American workers, with strong new trade deals from Asia to Europe that aren’t just free, but fair.

Look, I’m the first one to admit that past trade deals haven’t always lived up to the hype, and that’s why we’ve gone after countries that break the rules at our expense. But ninety-five percent of the world’s customers live outside our borders, and we can’t close ourselves off from those opportunities. More than half of manufacturing executives have said they’re actively looking at bringing jobs back from China.  Let’s give them one more reason to get it done.” — Remarks by President Obama at the 2015 State of the Union Address

On Tuesday night, President Obama spoke passionately and eloquently in defense of his domestic and international agenda, and devoted significant attention to his priorities for trade. Calling on Congress to quickly consider and pass TPA as a means of ensuring that TTIP and TPP provide protections for American workers and the environment, Obama made his most personal plea yet to get these deals done. The next key step will be following through with individual members, many of whom are skeptical about trade–particularly in the Democratic party.Republicans have responded favorably to the President’s comments on trade made during the State of the Union. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) explicitly mentioned her party’s intent to cooperate on passing an ambitious trade promotion authority bill during the official Republican response. And new chairmen in the House and Senate–Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT)–have both signaled their willingness to move quickly.As with the negotiations themselves, 2015 will be a pivotal year for the politics of trade and moving forward both across the Pacific and the Atlantic.
Compliments of The Atlantic.

IN THIS CONTEXT:

Remarks by President Obama as Prepared for Delivery State of the Union AddressWe should write those rules [of the future of global trade]. We should level the playing field. That’s why I’m asking both parties to give me trade promotion authority to protect American workers, to conclude strong new trade deals from Asia to Europe that aren’t just free, but fair.” – President Obama

President Obama urged both Democrats and Republicans to give him TPA in order to close new trade deals in the Asia-Pacific and Europe, with arguments couched in terms of setting global gold standards for the future of world trade. President Obama acknowledged that some past agreements had not “always lived up to the hype,” and tried to reassure critics of past free-trade pacts that the current ambitious trade agenda will create jobs and growth here at home. (White House)

European Parliament Press Release: Trade Committee Debate on New Recommendations for TTIP Talks
“Parliament must use its influence on framing TTIP rules to ensure that they serve all EU citizens, not just a few economic players and must therefore insist that the talks are more democratic and more transparent.” – Trade Committee Chair Bernd Lange, MEP

Center-right MEPs insisted that the European Parliament’s demands should be drafted in more positive terms, focusing on “what we want” rather than on “drawing new red lines.” The need for investor protection that does not limit the rights to regulate and a binding sustainable development chapter was mentioned several times in the debate, and an emphasis was also placed on ensuring TTIP helps drive sustainable development.(European Parliament)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel Strongly Endorses TTIP at the World Economic Forum in Davos

Merkel declared that the proposed agreement between the United States and the European Union offers “a unique opportunity” for the two sides to set global standards. The German Chancellor stressed the potential for increased economic growth as a result of an agreement. In addition, Merkel argued that a trade deal with the United States would safeguard, preserve, and extend the EU’s high consumer protection and environmental standards.
Please follow this link to watch Merkel’s speech: (World Economic Forum)