Will the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Live Up to Its Promise?

An Examination of the Economics, Geopolitics, and Architecture of the TTIP

October 12, 2015 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM EDT

1st floor/Wintergarden

If you can’t make it to the event, you can watch it live online at www​.cato​.org/live and join the conversation on Twitter using #CatoTTIP. Follow @CatoEvents on Twitter to get future event updates, live streams, and videos from the Cato Institute.

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations were launched to great fanfare in mid‐​2013 with the pronouncement that a comprehensive deal would be reached by the end of 2014 on a “single tank of gas.” But after more than two years and 10 rounds of negotiations, an agreement is nowhere in sight and substantive differences remain between the parties. Despite a retreat from the original level of ambition, skepticism is mounting on both sides of the Atlantic that a deal will be reached anytime soon. What are the prospects for fulfilling the promise of a comprehensive trade and investment deal between the United States and the European Union? What exactly is under negotiation, and what is the strategy for advancing those negotiations? Would it make sense to exclude sacred‐​cow issues that will only bog down the negotiations? Is it wise to continue pursuing a single comprehensive deal for all issues on the table, or is it better to aim for a sequence of smaller agreements? Should a deal include other closely integrated countries, such as Canada, Mexico, and Turkey? How will TTIP affect the multilateral trading system, relations with the BRICS countries, and prospects for developing countries?

Those and many other questions will be addressed through panel presentations, roundtable discussions, and debates by more than 30 trade experts from around the world at a conference hosted by the Cato Institute.

8:00 – 8:30 a.m.


8:30 – 9:00 a.m.

Welcoming Remarks and Keynote Address

Shawn Donnan, Financial Times

9:00 — 10:10 a.m.

Session I: Taking Stock of the Issues

What is at stake in these negotiations? Why are some issues more difficult to resolve than others, and how can compromise be reached? This panel will identify the low‐​hanging fruit, the sacred cows, and everything in between to provide a better understanding of the issues under negotiation, from the easiest to most difficult and consequential. Given the comprehensive nature of the agreement, there is room for debate on a number of topics, such as regulatory coherence, investor‐​state dispute settlement, privacy and data flows, financial services, government procurement, agriculture, services, labor and the environment, and, of course, tariffs. So what exactly is on the table, and what positions, if any, have both sides taken?

Moderated by: Dan Ikenson, Cato Institute

Susan Aaronson, George Washington University
Axel Berger, German Development Institute
Marjorie Chorlins, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Celeste Drake, AFL-CIO
Iana Dreyer, Borderlex
Fredrik Erixon, ECIPE

10:10 – 10:30 a.m.


10:30 – 11:40 a.m.

Session II: Finding the Path to TTIP Success

It is clear that the first tank of gas on the road to TTIP has run out. So where do we go from here? This panel will discuss the state of the negotiations, describe what lies ahead, and ask whether the United States and the EU have bitten off more than they can chew. If the negotiations were less ambitious in scope, would a final agreement be more achievable? Are there alternative architectures worth considering? Should we abandon the “single undertaking” approach and instead aim for a series of annual or biannual agreements? Should we consider including other countries that are closely integrated with the United States and the EU — such as Canada, Mexico, and Turkey — in the negotiations? If an agreement as currently proposed is achievable, what will it take to make it happen? And after such an agreement is reached, how daunting will the ratification processes be? What will it take to get to the final stage implementation?

Moderated by: Inu Barbee, Georgetown University

Michelle Egan, American University
John Gillingham, Harvard University Center for European Studies
Gary Hufbauer, Peterson Institute

11:40 a.m. – 12:50 p.m.

Session III: TTIP and the Multilateral Trading System

The TTIP and other mega‐​regional trade negotiations have been garnering attention for both their potential to liberalize trade and their potentially adverse impacts on the existing multilateral trading system. This panel will discuss the implications of the TTIP for the World Trade Organization and its member states. It will include discussion of the prospects for multilateralization of TTIP’s provisions; accession by other WTO members, the potential impact on the WTO dispute settlement body, prospects for developing countries, and the implications for U.S. and EU relations with the big economies left out of these deals — such as China and Brazil — if the TTIP succeeds in writing a new gold‐​standard of trade rules.

Moderated by: Joakim Reiter, UN Conference on Trade and Development

Vinod Aggarwal, University of California, Berkeley
Joost Pauwelyn, Georgetown University Law Center
Harsha Singh, International Center for Trade and Sustainable Development

12:50 – 1:50 p.m.


Moderated by: Dan Ikenson, Cato Institute

Susan Danger, American Chamber of Commerce to the European Union (AmCham EU)
Nancy McLernon, Organization for International Investment

1:55 – 2:55p.m.

Session IV (Interview): Strategies for Navigating the Domestic Politics on Both Sides of the Atlantic

Whether a TTIP deal is achieved depends on the tenor and substance of the U.S.-EU negotiations. But those negotiations are shaped, to a great extent, by the parameters established through domestic political processes. This session will feature an interview between a host and three discussants who will focus on some of the domestic political landmines within the United States and the European Union, as well as strategies to mitigate risks and bridge political divides.

Moderated by: Dan Pearson, Cato Institute

Jim Kolbe, German Marshall Fund
Edward Alden, Council on Foreign Relations
Damien Levie, Delegation of the European Union to the United States

2:55 – 4:05 p.m.

Session V: The Geopolitical and Security Implications of TTIP

A heightened sense of anxiety on Europe’s eastern border has renewed geopolitical concerns on the Continent. This panel will focus on the security rationale for TTIP, discuss the interplay between economic security and national defense, and describe the relative importance of geopolitical considerations to the launch and success of the TTIP. Panelists will discuss the implications of the TTIP for energy security, privacy protection, cybersecurity, NATO, and other policies at the intersection of economics and security.

Moderated by: Bill Watson, Cato Institute

Fran Burwell, Atlantic Council
Phil Levy, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs
Peter Rashish, Transnational Strategy Group

4:05 – 4:20 p.m.


4:20 – 5:30 p.m.

Breakout Sessions

Session VI: A Deep Dive on the Regulatory Coherence Negotiations

Touted as the portion of the negotiations that could produce the largest economic gains, the regulatory coherence negotiations are complicated by several factors, including the level of technical detail involved, the reliance of negotiators on domestic regulators (who may have a professional interest in scuttling a deal) for expertise, and the wide disparity in approaches contemplated by U.S. and EU negotiators. Panelists will break down the negotiations and provide greater clarity with respect to the possibilities and probabilities.

Moderated by: Simon Lester, Cato Institute

Alberto Alemanno, HEC Paris & NYU Law
Per Altenberg, Swedish Board of Trade
Greg Shaffer, University of California, Irvine School of Law

Session VII: Understanding the Economic Models and the Estimates They Produce

Common to most trade negotiations are estimates of the likely economic benefits of a completed deal. Often, these estimates vary, as they are based on different assumptions in the models. Sometimes it is difficult to understand how estimates for an agreement with yet‐​to‐​be‐​determined provisions can have any credibility. Panelists will discuss the basics of the economic modeling that is common to estimating the benefits of trade agreements, describe how those estimates affect the negotiations, and explain divergences in the estimates of some of the most commonly referenced models.

Moderated by: Hanna Norberg, TradeEcon​o​mista​.com

Laura Baughman, Trade Partnership
Gabriel Felbermayr, Ifo Institute
Gabriel Siles‐​Brugge, University of Manchester

5:30 p.m.