The Perception of TTIP is Vastly Different Across the Atlantic

May 27, 2016
Economists Highlighted the Concerns Associated with the Highly Controversial Trade Agreement and the Political Climates that Drive those Concerns

Turkish Heritage Organization (THO), a young organization that focuses on issues of importance in the U.S.-Turkey bilateral relationship, hosted event to discuss Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Panelists Peter Sparding of the German Marshall Fund, Monica De Bolle of the Peterson Institute and Professor Carlos Vegh of Johns Hopkins University explored issues surrounding the controversial U.S. – EU trade deal from the perspective of emerging economies.

Having returned from a recent trip to Germany, Peter Sparding had indicated that according to a recent survey 70% of Germans had a negative view of the agreement. Sparding said that he had a hard time talking to anyone about it because majority of Germans were convinced that "TTIP was over".

Different Perceptions, Different Arguments

Peter Sparding indicated that while conventional worries of job losses are the main arguments against TTIP in the United States, many Europeans are more concerned "about standards and lack of democratic control." Sparding added that the food production and labor standards are of great importance in the EU, and consumers were worried that TTIP may lower standards at home.

Sparding also highlighted the fact that unlike previous agreements which provided different standards to different countries, TTIP and Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will be unconventional because all signatories will have the same rights and standards. According to Sparding, this standardization and new generation agreements will make things difficult for third party countries such as Turkey because it will signal a shift in tariffs.

Political Climate in Europe

German Marshall Fund scholar Sparding said that while President Obama was working hard to prepare the ideal conditions, upcoming elections in France, Germany and the EU referendum in Britain were going to make TTIP's ambitious timeline, which aims to finalize it by the end of 2016, fairly challenging.

Macroeconomic Policies Have Failed

According to Professor Carlos Vegh, overreliance to monetary policies in developed countries have failed the growth oriented macroeconomic policies. In addition, Vegh argued that strong economic growth should involve sound fiscal policies and timely reforms.  Carlos Vegh also argued that American politicians were failing to educate the public on TTIP and related trade deals.

The Role of Technology in Trade

Peterson Institute Economist De Bolle highlighted the significant shifts in economic activities, particularly the diminishing manufacturing sector, which is being replaced by the service sector. De Bolle recommended that "we need to foster the internet in order to keep trade between EU and US strong." Sabeen Malik elaborated on the importance of good internet policies that can complement these trade agreements.

Turkish Heritage Organization