On May 28, 2013, The European Institute welcomed Dr. Zsolt Becsey, Coordinator for Foreign Economic Affairs at the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to a special meeting of the Transatlantic Roundtable on Trade & Investment to discuss the challenges and opportunities in the upcoming negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Expressing strong support for this historic initiative, Dr. Bescey emphasized that TTIP would not only benefit both sides of the Atlantic, but it could well act as a catalyst for the success of future multilateral trade agreements.

brianbeary-august2011With the official nomination of President Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economics, Michael Froman, as the next U.S. Trade Representative, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership  (TTIP)has taken a vital and important step closer to the negotiating starting gate.  Froman, a close friend and advisor of the President, has been central to the Obama Administration’s trade agenda since 2009.

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Editors Note—the following article is another in the ongoing series published by European Affairs on the important trade negotiations between the EU and U.S.

patriciaThe Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is expected to be “a high-standard agreement that will benefit U.S. workers, manufacturers, service suppliers, farmers, ranchers, innovators, creators, small- and medium- sized businesses and consumers.”[1] In part, this “high-standard” will be achieved by a “deep dive” into regulation. . With the globe’s two largest markets already having substantially open markets, particularly in information, communications and technology (ICT), regulatory convergence will be at the center of discussions, which means that the rules and authority of regulatory bodies will be front and center. For ICT, the key challenge will be facilitating the free flow of data over the cloud while protecting privacy rights and data security. A subsidiary challenge will be covering – while not fettering – services that enable social media and other “apps” that did not exist the last time services trade was included in a multilateral agreement.

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For Washington policy wonks it had become the equivalent of waiting for white smoke to emerge from the Vatican. But the selection of a new Pope came a lot more quickly in March  than President Obama's appointment of his top international economic advisor Michael Froman as U.S. Trade Representative.

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armensahakyanphotoIn today’s globalized economy, many smaller states can no longer compete in the world market on their own. The formation of economic-political blocs provides a competitive edge by combining national economies into stronger and deeper regional partnerships. For some states however, the conundrum is figuring out which bloc best serves their long-term national interests.

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