POLITICO: US trade Vote puts TTIP on faster track

06/30/2015

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BY: Doug Palmer | 06/30/2015 7:39am | Source: Politico

US trade vote puts TTIP on faster track

Following Congress’ hard-fought approval of “fast-track” trade authority last week, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman vowed not only to complete the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership but an even bigger pact with the European Union and three other major trade deals — all in the 18 months remaining in President Barack Obama’s term.

It could add up to the biggest trade blitz in history, transforming the rules under which the world does business.

“We’ve got a lot of pots on the stove,” Froman told POLITICO while watching senators cast their final votes to send the legislation to the president. “We want to get TPP done and through Congress. We want to get TTIP negotiated. We’re going to finish ITA. I’m hoping to finish EGA and TISA.”

Those would be, in order: the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement with the European Union, an even bigger pact than the TPP in terms of economic size; the World Trade Organization’s Information Technology Agreement, which covers about 97 percent of world IT trade; the Environmental Goods Agreement, accounting for 86 percent international commerce in green goods; and the 24-party Trade in International Services Agreement, which involves three-quarters of the United States’ gross domestic product and two-thirds of the world’s services, such as banking and communications.

Obama signed the fast-track law on Monday. Now, Froman aims to wrap up the talks on the trans-Pacific deal, covering nearly 40 percent of world economic output, this summer, setting the stage for another intense trade debate in Congress and vote on the pact before winter begins. He could finish the equally ambitious agreement with the European Union and the slew of other potential trade deals before leaving office, including an investment pact with China, and work to ensure that World Trade Organization members actually implement an agreement to facilitate cross-border trade.

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