Thursday

20th Jun 2019

Setback for TTIP as Congress holds on to trade powers

  • The free-trade deal is designed to boost bilateral trade by tens of billions of euros (Photo: dawvon)

A fast conclusion to talks between the EU and US on a trade deal became less likely Tuesday, after US senators refused to give president Barack Obama the power to negotiate on their behalf.

Obama had wanted the green-light to fasttrack negotiations and needed the support of 60 out of 100 senators.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • The EU Commission suggests the US-EU trade deal could increase annual economic growth by €119bn (Photo: European Commission)

But the Trade Promotion Authority bill failed to pass with 52 senators voting in favour, and 45 against.

If the bill had been passed, Congress would have given away its right to amend international trade deals for the next five years and limited the legislature's influence to a yes/no vote.

The US president had that authority between 2002 and 2007, but it has not been renewed since.

Remarkably, Obama's support came mostly from Republicans, with only one Democrat voting in favour.

The vote means the US Congress keeps its power to amend or filibuster any trade deals the president agrees on, including the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

The European Commission, for its part, has been promoting the trade deal, which would remove custom duties and harmonise EU-US regulations and standards.

It expects TTIP to increase EU economic growth by €119 billion a year. But civil society groups and NGOs have come out strongly against the treaty, arguing it will lead to a lowering of EU consumer and environment standards.

A tenth round of talks is expected to take place in July, but negotiations are taking longer than expected. The EU's chief negotiator said last month that talks will have to continue into 2016, despite an initial deadline of the end of 2015.

Tuesday's vote took place with another trade deal in mind, the US-Asia-Latin American Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which would include the US, Japan, Australia and nine other countries. TPP talks have been progressing faster than TTIP talks.

EU-US trade talks to drift into 2016

Negotiations on a landmark EU-US free trade deal will drag into 2016 - a blow to those hoping for a swift agreement under Barack Obama’s presidency.

Opinion

How TTIP could create a red tape labyrinth

The free-trade talks between the EU and the US could create a labyrinth of red tape effectively blocking new environmental, health or labour standards in the EU.

News in Brief

  1. Johnson vs. Hunt to replace May as UK leader
  2. EU leaders take aim at Russia's role in Ukraine
  3. EUobserver appoints new interim editor-in-chief
  4. Ombudsman: Tusk's staff should record lobby meetings
  5. Tusk now 'more cautious' on top jobs decision at summit
  6. Mogherini: my replacement 'needs security experience'
  7. Irish PM: 'enormous hostility' to new Brexit extension
  8. Merkel hopes to name commission chief by early July

Feature

Romania enlists priests to promote euro switchover plan

Romania is due to join the single currency in 2024 - despite currently only meeting one of the four criteria. Now the government in Bucharest is enlisting an unlikely ally to promote the euro to the public: the clergy.

Trump and Kurz: not best friends, after all

The visit of Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz to the White House on Wednesday showed that the current rift in transatlantic relations is deepening by the day.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  3. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  5. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  6. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  7. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  8. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody

Latest News

  1. Additional summit over top EU jobs looms
  2. EU advisor roasted over Russian media interview
  3. EU must counter Kushner's so-called 'peace' plan
  4. Tusk wants quick deal on EU top jobs at Thursday summit
  5. EU keeps North Macedonia and Albania at arm's length
  6. What's going on in Moldova - and what next?
  7. EU officials prepare for US extravaganza on Palestine
  8. EU urges Swiss to move on talks or face sanction

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us