Tuesday, June 28, 2016

T-TIP is Dead

With the UK vote to leave the EU, T-TIP, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is dead. The US may someday have free trade with Europe, but not, at least not directly, as a result of the project launched in the spring of 2013.

President Obama’s threat that the UK would step to the “back of the queue” if it leaves the EU fails to take into account that the UK leaving the EU means that the EU must also step to the back of the queue. With calls in other EU members for similar referenda, the US can’t be sure who the EU is, and until this settles down, you can't negotiate with an unknown entity. Further, the negotiations to date included the UK, which means that concessions were made, on both sides, to address UK-specific issues. Now those issues don’t matter, and that means the whole, or nearly the whole, negotiation must start over from scratch. Three to five years from now, when T-TIP can be restarted, so much time shall have passed that stakeholder input will need to be re-solicited, as new trade patterns will have developed around TPP (assuming it passes), other trade deals, and the general tendency of business to evolve. T-TIP is dead. The US and EU may do a free trade agreement in the future. They may even call it T-TIP. But it won’t be the conclusion of the current T-TIP; it will be a de novo negotiation, which will benefit from the current T-TIP only as an imperfect and out-of-date road map.

That's my opinion. --David Trumbull

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