Monday

16th May 2022

Pacific trade deal puts spotlight on EU-US talks

  • The deal covers 40 percent of the world economy (Photo: dawvon)

Twelve Pacific countries including G7 members the US, Japan, and Canada signed a free-trade agreement Monday (5 October) that could have major implications for world trade and EU trade talks with the US.


The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which was negotiated for five years and concluded after an intensive last round of talks, will cover about 40 percent of the world economy.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • Obama: 'We can’t let countries like China write the rules of the global economy' (Photo: whitehouse.gov)

The deal was finalised in Atlanta after the US and Australia agreed how long bio-tech companies can keep a monopoly on new drugs. The US had wanted the monopoly to last 12 years. Australia and other countries wanted five years. A compromise was found for eight years.

Other countries to participate in the TPP are Mexico, New Zealand, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, and Brunei. China is not part of it.

"We can’t let countries like China write the rules of the global economy", US president Barack Obama said in a statement.

"We should write those rules, opening new markets to American products while setting high standards for protecting workers and preserving our environment".

Obama is trying to woo Congress to ratify the deal. Before summer, an alliance between some Republicans and Democrats tried to deprive Obama of the fast track authority to negotiate the TPP.

 Several presidential candidates also oppose the deal.

“It’s a horrible deal for the United States and it should not pass," Republican leading candidate Donald Trump said.

Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton's main opponent for the Democratic nomination, said the TPP is "disastrous".

TTIP

Obama's comments, as well as the Congress ratification process and politcians' opposition will be closely watched in Europe.

The TPP has been considered as a trial run for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the US and the EU.

Many of the sectors covered by TPP will be covered in TTIP too, for instance, regulations for agriculture, intellectual property, the environment, and investment.

In recent months, many in Europe felt TTIP talks had stalled, partly due to difficulties the US had in concluding the TPP talks.

"There is too much asymmetry, not enough reciprocity," French trade minister Matthias Fekl said in an interview last week.

The EU Commission, which is negotiating TTIP on behalf of member states, did not react officially to the TPP deal. But trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem expressed satisfaction on her Twitter account.

"Happy to hear that negotiations on TPP are concluded!", she wrote.

Stephen Gardner, the US envoy to the EU, also tweeted: "TPP is done! Massively important deal for U.S. relations with AsiaPacific region. Let’s get TTIP done!".

Bernd Lange, the German social-democrat chair of the European Parliament's trade committee, said the deal "clears the path for changing gears in the transatlantic negotiations".

New round

"Now is the time to move forward with TTIP," he said in a statement to EUobserver.

"I hope our American partners will fully dedicate their efforts to engage in the negotiations and bring forward ambitious and comprehensive proposals which the EU has been waiting for".

A new round of EU-US negotiations will take place in the second half of October in the US.

Uncertainties over TPP ratification could EU as well as continued criticism in Europe could prevent talks to be concluded soon.

In his letter of intent for 2016, Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said he aimed at "mak[ing] sustained progress" with no reference to a deadline.

"The Commission is ready to make progress in the negotiations in so far as member states want it", a spokesperson said last week.

An EU source told EUobserver Monday that the US always said it could conduct both negotiation processes at the same time and that the EU would expect the TTIP talks to go on.

Opinion

EU sacrifices human rights for Vietnam free trade

The deal signed by the European Commission despite reports of violation of human rights and an EU Ombusdman warning should include a suspension clause if the situation persists.

TTIP protesters warn of Trojan Horse

Anti-TTIP demonstrators do not trust European negotiators, who will engage in the 11th round of discussions next week in Miami.

UK says 'no choice but to act' over post-Brexit trade rules

British foreign secretary Liz Truss said the UK has "no choice but to act" on the Northern Ireland protocol governing post-Brexit trade during a call with EU Commission vice-president Maroš Šefčovič — who warned unilateral action was "simply not acceptable".

UK threatens to scrap post-Brexit trade deal

The UK rejected proposals by the EU to tweak the protocol governing trade in Northern Ireland, and has threatened to suspend the rules as loyalists lost their majority in the Northern Ireland elections.

Opinion

Will 'Putin's Nato' follow Warsaw Pact into obscurity?

Valdimir Putin's equivalent to Nato — the Collective Security Treaty Organization of Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Armenia, Tajikistan, and Belarus — is convening in Moscow next week to give cover that Russia is not alone in its war against Ukraine.

Opinion

Is EU 'Horizon' science funding going towards Pegasus spyware?

MEPs have raised questions about the involvement of the EU — through its funding — in the development of the Israeli NSO Pegasus software, directly or indirectly, which has been used to target activists and journalists in Europe.

News in Brief

  1. McDonald's to sell up and exit Russia
  2. Nordic nations to help Sweden and Finland if attacked
  3. Germany to reject EU green label for nuclear
  4. Afghans and Syrians using Western Balkans to enter EU
  5. Putin: Russia will respond if Nato bolsters Sweden and Finland
  6. British PM urges Northern Irish parties to work together
  7. EU-US pledge to counter Russian propaganda in Ukraine
  8. EU greenhouse-gas emissions rebound to pre-pandemic levels 

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersClear to proceed - green shipping corridors in the Nordic Region
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers agree on international climate commitments
  3. UNESDA - SOFT DRINKS EUROPEEfficient waste collection schemes, closed-loop recycling and access to recycled content are crucial to transition to a circular economy in Europe
  4. UiPathNo digital future for the EU without Intelligent Automation? Online briefing Link
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersHuge support for Ukraine
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBWorkers want EC to limit subcontracting chains in construction

Latest News

  1. EU countries rush to expand gas import capacity
  2. MEPs call to speed up curbs on toxic 'forever chemicals'
  3. Russia's war stifles EU pandemic recovery
  4. Sweden and Finland Nato decision is right for Baltic
  5. Sweden to join Finland in applying for Nato
  6. Russia sanctions and energy dominate Next WEEK
  7. Will 'Putin's Nato' follow Warsaw Pact into obscurity?
  8. EU reaches deal on flagship cybersecurity law

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us