The Political Economy of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP): Origins, Evolution, and Implications

The Berkeley APEC Study Center hosted a conference on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)—a trade agreement currently being negotiated between the United States and the European Union. Scholars from Asia, Europe and the United States were invited to present papers and participate in discussions on the likely evolution of the TTIP in the current international political and economic context.

While there has been a sharp increase in the number of bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements in the context of declining WTO support, TTIP is unique in terms of members and nature. As opposed to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) or the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which involves one leading trading power seeking to spread its ideas for trade rules to smaller industrialized and developing economies, the TTIP negotiations involve two parties—the United States and the European Union—with their own sets of entrenched and advanced regulatory structures. Furthermore, the nature of TTIP sets itself apart from other trade agreements. Outside of the important area of opening up public procurement contracts to foreign competition, the objectives of the TTIP negotiation relate more to regulatory alignment than to market access. Given the already low levels of tariffs on manufactured imports, TTIP’s potential for integrating markets through traditional trade reforms is limited.

Another conference on this subject was held in Brussels in October 2015.

On April 11, 2015, BASC hosted a conference at UC Berkeley which sought to investigate the following themes related to the TTIP: the dynamics of the lobbying and negotiation process both in the U.S. and the E.U.; efforts to design a TTIP in the context of other Mega-FTAs—TPP and RCEP—and the World Trade Organization (WTO); and the broader geopolitical and security context in which the negotiations are taking place (specifically its effect on trade agreements in Asia involving China, Japan, and Taiwan).Click here to access the conference’s agenda (updated as of April 9, 2015).

Sponsors: Major funding from the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taiwan, and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, in San Francisco. Additional sponsors include the Institute of East Asian Studies, the Berkeley APEC Study Center, the EU Center for Excellence, UC Berkeley, and the Clausen Center for International Business & Policy, UC Berkeley.

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