Trade and Globalisation
On 8 December 2015, the Clingendael Institute, in collaboration with the Centre for European Reform (London), hosted an Expert Seminar on “The Strategic Impact of TTIP”, bringing together 20-25 policymakers, politicians, think-tankers and journalists from Brussels, The Hague, and London.
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) talks are surrounded by controversy. But missing in the debate is a fair consideration of its foreign policy and strategic impact. What does a successful TTIP mean from a foreign policy perspective? And what would its strategic merit be? What does a successful TTIP look like? And what happens if a deal collapses? The event focused on understanding how TTIP may impact the multilateral trade system, third countries, energy relations, the overall state of the transatlantic relationship and other areas.
The discussion was kicked off by a keynote speech by MEP Marietje Schaake (ALDE), who stressed the role of the treaty –currently in its twelfth negotiation round- in overcoming economic tariff, non-tariff, and market access-related barriers. Also, Ms Schaake pointed at the overarching normative importance of TTIP, seeking to strengthen a rules-based international trade environment where profit and values go hand in hand.
The first panel focused on the strategic relevance of TTIP for Europe and for the West in general. A wide array of views were expressed, with some participants stressing the many pro-TTIP arguments from a EU perspective: reinvigorating the EU project against surging Euroscepticism, better outreach towards the East, improved energy security, and the defence/promotion of the EU as a global normative power. On the other hand, concerns touched upon the inevitable process of “creative destruction” in the job market, as well as on the allegedly insufficient attention paid by the negotiators to the impact of deregulation on labour rights.
The second panel addressed the thorny question of what would happen if TTIP resulted in a failure, as well as which outcomes could be classified as such. Emphasis was given to the lack of a clear TTIP narrative. A collapse of the negotiations (be it full-blown or deriving from a WTO-like stalemate) would have severe consequences on the overall framework of the transatlantic alliance, likely resulting in a political strengthening of the US pivot to Asia.
For more information, please contact Mr Francesco Montesano: FMontesano@clingendael.nl