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  • TTIP - Have we been trying to put tyres on the horse when...

TTIP - Have we been trying to put tyres on the horse when all the while the wheels were coming off the wagon?

13 October 2016

Noel Clehane , Global Head of Regulatory & Public Policy Affairs |

A colleague recently asked me: “why is TTIP falling apart and what are the underlying reasons?" Having long believed that there are no dangerous questions, only dangerous answers, I reflected briefly on the obvious explanations before deciding to group the multiplicity of reasons into six areas.

I am no trade expert but would consider myself an informed and interested observer in comparative terms having followed TTIP since the then US Trade Representative Ron Kirk and then European Commissioner Karel De Gucht set the wheels in motion back in 2013.

My continuing involvement in Brussels with AmchamEU, the Transatlantic Business Council and the European Services Forum have also given me copious information and insights but of course trade agreements are such a byzantine mix of politics, geopolitics, law, economics, history, trade and much else besides, that getting one’s head around it all is near impossible.

In any case, here are my thoughts as to why TTIP is not looking as likely to be concluded in 2016 (or ever) as it was previously. In fact, it now seems that the aim to conclude it in 2016 has been all but officially dropped as the 15th round of negotiations in New York finishes.

In my view, the myriad aspects explaining the TTIP fall from grace, fall into a few obvious buckets.

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