Sunday, April 24, 2016

A Brief Discussion on TTIP

To be honest, one could spend several hours talking about TTIP and what it may or may not achieve.  For those not in the "circle" TTIP is the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.  It's been a treaty which has been in the works for a minimum of three years (some think talks went back to 2009 with the Obama White House).

The emphasis of the deal?  The US and the EU would agree to common understandings on trade.  Each will go in front of cameras on rare talk up the TTIP discussion and hint of jobs for tens of thousands (each).  Each will talk of increased business, increased trade, increased revenue, increased profits.

Before I go to the three key points on simple reminder.....the US over the past forty-odd years has signed various trade agreements.  There's not a single one that resulted in more jobs in the US, after the smoke had cleared.  We have a reputation....of signing agreements that have no trade benefit.  There's no reason to think this treaty will help the US in any way or fashion.

So, issue one.....transparency.  The talks held?  All secretive.  The public knowledge?  Almost non-existent.  A handful of German political figures have some access and know the insider view of the talks.  They aren't supposed to discuss the views.  That by itself.....ought to worry people on both sides of the Atlantic.

Issue two.....limit on new standards.  Right now....both the US and EU have a ton of special standards....on beer, milk, cars, bread, light-bulbs, cigarettes, whiskey, etc.  A great deal of this discussion on the treaty involves getting to a mutual understanding and approval for each's special view.  Once signed?  It'll be just about impossible to add new standards.  If you felt that some ingredient for soap ought to be phased out because of health'd be easily done in today's EU or the US.  But after they sign the treaty.....such changes would be more difficult and involve more talks....possibly years of delete this one ingredient for soap which might be bad for your health.

Issue three....most Germans have zero interest in buying US products (Chevy, Budweiser Beer, Arby's Roast Beef, etc).  Most Americans would have zero interest in buying German-made products which cost 20-to-30-percent more than the typical American made product.  No one can truly explain how TTIP will jump-start any purchase situation where people actually buy different products.

For President Obama, this is probably the biggest achievement of his legacy, and administration.  For the EU?  I'm not so sure that they would talk about it as a proud moment.

On 1 May, there will be anti-TTIP marches across Europe, and some possible violent episodes in Germany.

So, when you hear some German hyped up and negative about TTIP.....this is the basic story.  Oh, and don't worry.....the German beer standards are firmly in place and there's no way that the crazy Americans will dissolve these titanium-style rules.

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