Geethanjali Nataraj (Barcelona Centre for International Affaires)
There are growing fears that Britain‘s decision to leave the EU could jeopardize the negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). It is because following the Brexit, the Union could become a less attractive partner for the US. However, it seems that the upcoming elections in Germany and France as well as the new US administration emerging from the presidential race could be a greater threat to the negotiations.
Although the EU is aware of the possibilities that the TTIP could bring, together with accelerated economic growth, it is also committed to protecting the existing values and standards of the European market. In 2017, however, there will be elections in Germany and France. Those could jeopardize the TTIP negotiations, since nearly 70 percent of Germans are against TTIP and French President also announced that his country had a problem with the basic principles of the agreement. They especially do not like its provisions regarding agriculture and reciprocity in access to the public procurement markets. The Germans are moreover concerned about the non-public way of negotiating the deal and they also fear that TTIP could reduce consumer protection.
The deadline for finalizing the TTIP agreement is the end of this year, but with the upcoming presidential elections in the US, meeting this objective seems rather unlikely as neither candidate is too supportive of the TTIP. Moreover, plenty of thorny issues between the EU and the US must yet to be resolved, such as the concerns of EU citizens about lower consumer protection or general concerns about the role of commercial arbitration courts, which would be independent of national courts and where firms could have their trade disputes with governments settled.
These are the major obstacles to the negotiations. Britain‘s omission from the agreement, protests across Europe against the TTIP and the US election thus cast a shadow of uncertainty on the negotiations. All despite the fact that the mutual benefits of the agreement would be significant for both sides and would help revive the economy on both sides of the Atlantic. More detailed discussions are thus likely to be held next year, this time with the participation of the new US administration. We can only hope that the TTIP will see the light at the end of the tunnel at the right time.
(The study can be downloaded here:http://bruegel.org/2016/07/will-ttip-survive-brexit/)