Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)

ASSESS_TTIP: Assessing the Claimed Benefits of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership

An ÖFSE research project scrutinizing the pros and cons of the planned EU-USA Free Trade Agreement

The United States (US) and the European Union (EU) are currently negotiating a free trade agreement: the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). This is the latest agreement in a series of bilateral trade negotiations, the European Union has engaged in during the last years. It is nonetheless an agreement that stands out both in terms of its economic importance and with regard to its scope. It is indeed very comprehensive and includes a plethora of topics and issues, including services & investment liberalization, public procurement, and cooperation in all matters of trade-related regulations with a view to dismantle so-called unnecessary regulation or harmonize diverging regulations between the EU and US. The latter involves many sensitive areas like consumer protection, social and environmental regulations.

Trade liberalization in the conventional meaning of the term is thus only a minor issue, with average tariff rates between the EU and US already standing at a very low 3%. In other words both trade and investment between the two economic areas are already very open. Nonetheless major proponents such as the European Commission nevertheless argue that TTIP would give a boost to economic growth in the EU and US. Most prominently, the European Commission estimates the potential economic stimulus because of TTIP at €120 billion for the EU economy, €90 billion for the US economy and €100 billion for the rest of the world. But how are these benefits of TTIP derived?

These results are derived from a few selected studies, mostly commissioned by the European Commission. These studies have set the tone, suggesting that effects are positive on both sides of the Atlantic. The most widely cited studies are from Ecorys (2009), CEPR (2013), CEPII (2013) and Bertelsmann/ifo (2013). ÖFSE has critically assessed these findings and their underlying methodologies. In addition, some issues are explicitly addressed that are frequently neglected by trade impact assessments, but are nevertheless important from developmental and policy-oriented point of view.  These include macroeconomic adjustment costs, the social costs of regulatory change and the effects on third countries. Besides, some ex-post evidence on experience with other trade liberalization ventures, in particular NAFTA is provided.

International Conference

4 – 6 February 2016
„EU Trade Policy at the Crossroads: between Economic Liberalism and Democratic Challenges”
C3-Centre for International Development, Sensengasse 3, 1090 Vienna

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Conference Documentation

For more information contact:

Mr. Werner Raza
Tel.: +43 1 317 40 10 – 101  

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Publications on the topic: