The Transatlantic Free Trade Area & Transatlantic Economic Council

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possibly one of the biggest storys of our time ?

in a recent speach President Obama effectively committed the USA to negotiating what will effectively become a "customs union" with the EU (within two years) in which they will actually eventually share regulation much as exists in Europe to facilitate "The Common Market" part of the EU in order to provide a level playing field for trade from any part within to any other and thus a "free" market.

this policy will see the creation of jointly operating US/EU regulatory bodies which will share "laws" and set standards.

just as "health and safety" in the UK was replaced by "EU regulations", "EU regulations" will be replaced by ones which are shared with the US (ofc in reality both parties will just alter the existing ones to be the same but you get the picture).

this is being done so "The West" can counterbalance the rise of China and the oncoming rise of the rest of the so called BRICs nations over the longer term in the wake of globalization.

atm this may seem like footnote to a speech but this is a major geopolitical play right up there with the creation of "the Common Market", NATO or the Warsaw Pact and it will touch on pretty much all our lives.

it may even extend to "region encoding" and the rating of media one day...

atm there are vastly varying reports about how much how much trade exists between the EU and US and how much such a "customs union" would increase it out there in the media surrounding this story and its probably fair to say that's due to people blowing hot and cold on the idea but if one looks at Europes Common Market there's no doubt in my mind that it vastly increased wealth over a relatively short historical period.

the idea seems to have widespread pragmatic support even from the republicans...but then if it makes people richer that includes everyone i suppose...

the elephant in the room is that it can be seen (especially depending on just how far it eventually regulates) as being a form or "start" of transcontinental governance.

personally i'm not adverse to layers of lightly federal "government" at any level nor am i even completely freaked out by the idea of "world government" so i don't really have a problem with the idea. and i think it would make us richer. i also wonder given the time table how this might effect Britain's vote on leaving the EU because now it will be a vote on leaving a customs union with the US too...

so what do you think ?

ps a few links

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/23f35c94-75da-11e2-b702-00144feabdc0.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transatlantic_Free_Trade_Area
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transatlantic_Economic_Council

Mod Edit ~ Duplicate thread merged, its two threads for the price of one, your welcome!. DigitalSushi

possibly one of the biggest storys of our time ?

in a recent speach President Obama effectively committed the USA to seriously negotiating what would effectively become a "customs union" with the EU (within two years) in which they will actually eventually share regulation much as exists in Europe to facilitate "The Common Market" part of the EU in order to provide a level playing field for trade from any part within to any other and thus a "free" market.

this policy will see the creation of jointly operating US/EU regulatory bodies which will share "laws" AND set standards.

just as "health and safety" in the UK was replaced by "EU regulations", "EU regulations" will be replaced by ones which are shared with the US as well. (ofc in reality both parties will harmonise existing ones and remove all trade tariffs etc but hopefully you get the picture).

this is being done so "The West" can collectively counterbalance the rise of China and the oncoming rise of the rest of the so called BRICs nations over the longer term in the wake of globalization.

it is being sought to move to a level over above the likes of NAFTA and the EFTA and the weak implementation of Transatlantic Economic Council that exists at the moment into something far more substantive and actually geo politically affecting.

atm this may seem like footnote to a speech or "just another free trade agreement" but actually this is a major geopolitical play right up there with the creation of "the Common Market", NATO or the Warsaw Pact and it will touch on pretty much all our lives if it comes to pass.

it may even extend to the likes of "region encoding" and the age rating (advisory or legally enforceable depending on the country) that are printed on entertainment media one day...

atm there are vastly varying reports about how much how much trade exists between the EU and US and how much such a "customs union" would increase it by out there in the media surrounding this story and its probably fair to say that's due to people blowing hot and cold on the idea.

there are estimates of as high as 50% increase in wealth produced due to intercontinental trade however and if one looks at Europes Common Market there's no doubt in my mind that it vastly increased wealth creation over a relatively short historical period.

the idea seems to have widespread, underlying and pragmatic support even from US republicans...but then if it makes people richer that includes everyone i suppose :P

the elephant in the room is that it can be seen (especially depending on just how far it eventually regulates) as being a form of or "the start" of intercontinental governance.

there ultimately will be shared but largely non-political decision making on the nature of regulations that are currently decided separately by US federal and EU agencies and regulators.

personally i'm not adverse to layers of light "governance" at any level including at the supernational level and especially in relation to facilitating "free trade" nor am i even completely freaked out by the very idea of some form of "world government" tbth so i don't really have a problem with the idea. i do think it would make us all richer and i don't think (with the US aboard) we have much to fear from "mission creep". i also wonder given the timetable how this might effect Britain's vote on leaving the EU because now it will be a vote on leaving a customs union with the US too...

so what do you think ?

ps a few links

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/23f35c94-75da-11e2-b702-00144feabdc0.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transatlantic_Free_Trade_Area
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transatlantic_Economic_Council

Sleekit:

so what do you think ?

I think it's a good idea.

One problem might arise though: say it has a legislative council, how will that be made up? Europe has more than twice the population of the US, but it's much more fragmented.

This is of course it gets to being anything more than treaty harmonization, as you say. That's unlikely.

There's a possible cause of conflict about food. Our standards are higher here, but the USA just has so much food. Probably too much. While there's a lot of starving people over here. Perhaps the EU will cave for that reason.

Its pretty weird that no one has made a big fuss about it (or at least, a public one) and instead the media seems to focus more on Marco Rubio reaching for a glass of water.

This could be potentially huge, although I'm skeptical whether or not we will see its creation anytime soon. There is still a lot of economic grievances between the US and the EU, despite their strong political alliance. Both parties would have to establish a firm commitment to resolving those issues before they can move on to TAFTA.

Danny Ocean:

One problem might arise though: say it has a legislative council, how will that be made up? Europe has more than twice the population of the US, but it's much more fragmented.

Europe's fragmentation would not too problematic, because negotiations would be done through the EU and probably handled by the commissioners / president, inevitably finding a way to bypass asking all the individual member countries for much of the details.

I don't know how far this will go. It's been in discussions on and off for years. The rise of China might provide a big push, though. I don't think it will or can go to transnational government, or not for a long, long time because the geopolitical positions of the EU and North America are so different.

Republicans don't bitch now because they haven't decided yet how we're going to go about creating the regulation. Expect some issues when they get around to doing that.

I do wonder how that would affect regulatory bodies like the FDA's policies. From what I've always heard is that every drug that is failed by the FDA they send it to europe where it's much easier to go clinical with it and then once you have all of those tests and it's legal in europe the FDA is much more likely to allow you to mass produce.

you can agree to disagree and still move towards closer integration.

for example take the growth hormones in beef thing.

you can say "ok, but how about we harmonise everything else but we reserve the right to hold an exception on X at the moment because of the specifically expressed concern of our population about that particular product" you discuss the possibly of a standing tariff of some sort on EU beef imports into the US and perhaps look at introducing the product into Europe under heavy consumer advisory labelling over the longer term or something.

but you still move on with everything else.

because everything else is still a hell of a lot and beneficial...

even to the US beef framers who have "ins" are well as "outs".

they may still end up buying farming equipment, cattle feed, veterinary supplies, or even the growth hormones themselves from a European company at a reduced cost in the wider market and still turning a larger profit even with their exports constrained due to foreign public opinion.

you also have to remember that countries can interpret shared "regulation" differently over and above the baseline of what is provided. ratings for games are a good example here: in the US they would only be advisory whereas in the UK they would probably be held as legally binding as they are now.

in the UKs case we have just recently handed the setting of ratings off to a self-regulatory pan European body (PEGI) and tbth nothing has really changed from the days when the BBFC were those required to fulfil that role for incorporation in Britain's laws alone.

if the US and Europe combine you could have one rating system and "regulator" for all (and one shared marketplace) but the way people follow those unifying "regulations" can still be to differing degrees.

you can set a bare minimum standard and then place a nations own requirements over and above that and so fit more differing views "under the bar" so to speak.

so for example scientifically measurable "pure, clean" water supplies suitable for safe human consumption might be a shared "baseline" standard but adding something like fluoride to it would be down to individual countries/states and at the same time there might also be shared and scientifically assessed recommendations about doing that.

its funny but we share quite a lot of "regulations" even up to global level already without even realising it.
there's a reason every phone pad in the world looks the same for example...

This seems to me to be both a significant risk, but also have potential for a huge pay off in the long run. An economic agreement similar to NAFTA or the EU Common Market would basically lash the US and EU together for a real wild ride both economically and politically. I can definitely see a lot of benefits for the US(at the expense of the EU members) from getting some jobs come in as I am fairly sure that it is cheaper to higher in the US then in most European countries, this is an issue the US had when we entered NAFTA with Mexico and lost a lot of jobs that way. I also think that if this passes it may be the final kick in the ass to get the US on the metric system. I am concerned however over how we may be effected by some of the EU nations getting themselves in Economic.....pickles ala' Greece.

However the big issue that everyone is going to be wondering about is how this may develop into something much....bigger over time. If I remember my history correctly the EU has it's roots in an agreement over coal and grew from there. If this deal happens we might start seeing a lot more political and military cohesion between the EU and US: effectively making NATO real again. This could be a really important development because whether or not anyone is straight out saying it this is a big counter move to the growing power of China. I would not be surprised to see China start trying to make alliances and such of its own in the near future if we see this happen. However, China has typically bad relations with neighbors and that will make any kind of trade agreements/alliances difficult. I would be specifically concerned about India and Russia and who they drift toward in the future because as of now they seem to have little preference.

So, further political and economic chaining to the failing states of america?

Great.

I'm a bit surprised that they want to take it as far as common regulatory standards considering all the number of times the EU and US have clashed before over trade regulation. I thought it was just a standard free trade agreement where they'll remove all tariffs.

Strategically i think this is a good thing in the long run, both the US and the EU are, economically roughly equal and face the same competition from developing markets. So coming to think of it, maybe i shouldn't have been so surprised about this. What will be really interesting to see however is will the US adopt other aspects of the EU's common market aside from regulation. Will there be free movement of workers across the Atlantic for instance? It certainly does create a foundation for US-European integration, so it will be interesting to see how far either parties take this. Still, considering the political differences between the EU and the US i'd imagine any further integration to come slowly and after much argument.

Integration or not, such an agreement would be very good for British interests, as it will cement the UK's position as America's gate-way to Europe. It will be disastrous for the eurosceptics in the UK who want to leave the EU. Why would you want to leave a market that consists of both the US and EU, especially when you have a prime position in such market?

I'm cautiously optimistic about this and it will be interesting how negotiations go. If Obama and Barroso's hopes are fully realised and this sets both powers onto full economic recovery, then it goes to show that as economic problems require global solutions, then politics needs to play catch up and learn to globalise itself.

It's a good idea, but I don't give it more than a few years before some rather bright American conservatives get the idea to start another trade war, or change their regulations just to have something of themselves, and ruin the whole thing.

MrPeanut:
So, further political and economic chaining to the failing states of america?

Great.

y'know how there's Amazon.com and there's Amazon.co.uk ? and some things (even taking into account exchange rates and postage) are cheaper on Amazon.co.uk and/or only available on Amazon.co.uk and some things are cheaper on Amazon.com and/or only available on Amazon.com ? (i assume most people, if they have gotten a bit specific about some preferred entertainment media at some time, will probably have discovered this at some point)

now imagine there was only one Amazon site for both and all the stuff was on it and it was all at the cheapest price (taking into account exchange rates and postage).

now imaging basically the same thing happening across the entire marketplace for goods and services that exists within the combined economies of US and EU.

I read about this on a German news site. I'm very skeptical of it. This would only be acceptable if the USA raises their food, chemical and safety standards to meet European ones. If they decide to lower our standards just for economic gain then I'll take to the streets. This smacks like another liberal ploy to reduce governmental oversight to me. Maybe I'm being paranoid, but we'll see what any actual proposals will look like eventually.

Now we can all go down together....great. We should be thinking more about how we can make good trade agreements with china instead of rallying all of the west in an adversarial fashion for another round of capitalism vs planned economies.

I don't think Americans or Europeans like the idea of being put in a potato sack race (like tying two peoples legs together and telling them to run). Both the US and Europe have had their fair share of economic troubles recently.

This has long reaching implicatrions I don't understand yet

the cold hard truth is if you accept the proposition that Capitalism will flow freely across the face of the Earth in the wake of Globalization seeking out the best country in which to site low paid "jawbs" and produce goods for export until such time as that nation "grows a middle class" and develops a modern post industrial primarily service based and service focused industrial structure (aka a "developed economy") and the "jawbs" move to the next country in a never ending chain of seeking out the economically disadvantaged...

it all comes down to numbers.

Sleekit:
the cold hard truth is if you accept the proposition that Capitalism will flow freely across the face of the Earth in the wake of Globalization seeking out the best country to site low paid "jawbs" and produce goods for export until such time as that nation "grows a middle class" and develops a modern primarily service based and service focused industrial structure and the "jawbs" move to the next country in a never ending chain of seeking out the economically disadvantaged...

it all comes down to numbers.

That is exactly correct.

Friendly Lich:

Sleekit:
the cold hard truth is if you accept the proposition that Capitalism will flow freely across the face of the Earth in the wake of Globalization seeking out the best country to site low paid "jawbs" and produce goods for export until such time as that nation "grows a middle class" and develops a modern primarily service based and service focused industrial structure and the "jawbs" move to the next country in a never ending chain of seeking out the economically disadvantaged...

it all comes down to numbers.

That is exactly correct.

well there's safety (and profit) in numbers and we don't necessary want the "jawbs" coming to us given what that means.

being a larger trade block would increases internal competition and economic activity.

it's not necessary about squaring off against China as much as measuring up to.

and of course we will trade with China. personally i can't wait to see what they come up with.
and they will trade with us.

but it takes two.

and if you want a fair deals two who have a healthy dose of respect for each other...
economically speaking ofc...

our own advanced economies are already all primarily, "middle class", service based and self sufficient (as theirs will become). for example both Britain and Germany have 70% of a service sector that is largely self sustaining. the difference between the two and the reason Germany has always been an industrial powerhouse with more exports is because the rest of the UK economy is 10% "the financial services sector" aka "the city" and 15% mostly high end production while Germanys is 25% mostly high end production.

the production of high quality goods (and the workers that can come up with and produce them and that fit into the wages structures of those around them) being part of the select types manufacturing which remains in a post industrial advanced economy when the low paid production "jawbs" have (rightfully) moved on to cheaper climes in the cycle.

if the "jawbs" come back (as some people want) that means you've failed as an "advanced economy".

Skeleon:
I read about this on a German news site. I'm very skeptical of it. This would only be acceptable if the USA raises their food, chemical and safety standards to meet European ones. If they decide to lower our standards just for economic gain then I'll take to the streets. This smacks like another liberal ploy to reduce governmental oversight to me. Maybe I'm being paranoid, but we'll see what any actual proposals will look like eventually.

Outside of the xenophobic/nationalist faction in the EU parliament, think PVV, UKIP, stuff like that, the support for safety regulations and harmonising them is pretty universal. Especially strong among the liberals; harmonised standards = €.

Captcha: wild and crazy guys

While I'm generally in favor of more international integration, this strikes me as potentially a little unfair in application in that its essentially walling off most of the biggest consumer nations of the world from developing producer nations who depend on their markets for economic growth.

While I agree with you that the common market has probably been good for Europe, or at least bits of Europe (I grew up in an area which would be a ghost-town without it) it does put a big tariff wall between Europe and the rest of the world. It creates an environment where producers inside the EU have an advantage in accessing markets compared to those outside. Adding North America to that will probably be good for Europe and North America, but very bad for anyone outside looking to remain competitive, which long term also results in higher prices for consumers inside the free trade area.

Thus I'm kind of torn. I like the idea of international cooperation but part of me would rather see it come through genuinely fair international trade.

Blablahb:
Outside of the xenophobic/nationalist faction in the EU parliament, think PVV, UKIP, stuff like that, the support for safety regulations and harmonising them is pretty universal. Especially strong among the liberals; harmonised standards = €.

Yeah, but harmonised, lower standards = more €, because then we can sell crap and save money short-term.
It's primarily because of our particular (Corporatist, couldn't-give-a-fuck-about-civil-liberties, hate-equality-of-opportunity) liberal party - i. e. I'm biased - that I don't trust liberals. Certainly not with something like this.

MrPeanut:
So, further political and economic chaining to the failing states of america?

Great.

of course the same could be said about the splintering EU

Hammartroll:

MrPeanut:
So, further political and economic chaining to the failing states of america?

Great.

of course the same could be said about the splintering EU

Yes it could.

both are in the path to ruin.

Annnnnnnnnnnnd cue the conspiracy theories about the creation of a "One World Government" or the ultra-nation states of 1984!

I'm going to agree with Shock and Awe. There's a great deal of potential in the idea, but great risk as well. If the newer standards are high and the regulations actually enforced, I would be all for it. If this thing goes lowest-common-denominator, then it is a very bad idea.

The optimist in me say, "Go for it! Let's see what we can do with this!"

The cynic in me is using Marvin the Paranoid Android's voice to say, "It will all end in tears. I just know it."

I'm going to remain optimistic for this one, and at the same time bowing my head to the idea that it will never happen. Why will it never happen? Political conservatives whining about state-powers being usurped by super-states.

O_o

Wait, how is nobody talking about this?

People been stating that Obama would lose us national soveriegnty and turn us into a socialist European country.

Obama openly stated he wanted to do that (sort of...), and the internet hasn't started to freak out?

This isn't even on Drudge Report. How is this the first place I have heard about it?

Anyway...

I... don't think this is a good idea. I think the United States has inane amount of regulations already. One also has to wonder, how much control will this legislative body be given? What would count as the "economy?" Could it bypass Congress? How would this work with the already existing EU? How is this body chosen?

MrPeanut:

Yes it could.

both are in the path to ruin.

Hardly, we've hit a bad recession but the the EU and the US are still the largest and second largest economy respectively and both are amongst the best places on the planet to live. The US isn't going to fail and the EU isn't going to splinter any time soon.

When all of the western world is in the same situation as Greece. Then we can talk about being on the path to ruin.

Sort of makes sense as Europe and America basically have the same regulations anyway in principle, but different wording that just makes everything awkward.

I think it's a good idea, as long as it doesn't move towards a gigantic political super-state with opaque bureacracy.

Skeleon:
I read about this on a German news site. I'm very skeptical of it. This would only be acceptable if the USA raises their food, chemical and safety standards to meet European ones. If they decide to lower our standards just for economic gain then I'll take to the streets. This smacks like another liberal ploy to reduce governmental oversight to me. Maybe I'm being paranoid, but we'll see what any actual proposals will look like eventually.

I thought the same thing, though I was thinking "This smacks like another liberal ploy to increase governmental oversight to me" and I liked it. <.<

LetalisK:
I thought the same thing, though I was thinking "This smacks like another liberal ploy to increase governmental oversight to me" and I liked it. <.<

Assuming you're from the USA: Different things. Our liberals are more like a light-version of Libertarians who want to deregulate the economy, take apart our social safety nets and do anything for corporate lobbyists for short-term profit, regardless of the long-term economic consequences. And they don't even fulfill their supposed function of protecting civil liberties.

When I write "liberal", I usually talk about the ideology of economic liberalism. When I write "Liberal", I talk about the American usage of the word.

Skeleon:

LetalisK:
I thought the same thing, though I was thinking "This smacks like another liberal ploy to increase governmental oversight to me" and I liked it. <.<

Assuming you're from the USA: Different things. Our liberals are more like a light-version of Libertarians who want to deregulate the economy, take apart our social safety nets and do anything for corporate lobbyists for short-term profit, regardless of the long-term economic consequences. And they don't even fulfill their supposed function of protecting civil liberties.

Because, you know, I like the American version of liberalism, but not the European version, poking fun at the different definitions we use...yeah. >.>

LetalisK:
Because, you know, I like the American version of liberalism, but not the European version, poking fun at the different definitions we use...yeah. >.>

Hoisted by my own Picard as they say. I fear my personal habit of differentiating into "liberal" versus "Liberal" ended up confusing me there when you didn't capitalize it in your post.

davidmc1158:
Annnnnnnnnnnnd cue the conspiracy theories about the creation of a "One World Government" or the ultra-nation states of 1984!

I'm going to agree with Shock and Awe. There's a great deal of potential in the idea, but great risk as well. If the newer standards are high and the regulations actually enforced, I would be all for it. If this thing goes lowest-common-denominator, then it is a very bad idea.

The optimist in me say, "Go for it! Let's see what we can do with this!"

The cynic in me is using Marvin the Paranoid Android's voice to say, "It will all end in tears. I just know it."

Nah, a one world government is too damn centralized for its own good.

MrPeanut:

Hammartroll:

MrPeanut:
So, further political and economic chaining to the failing states of america?

Great.

of course the same could be said about the splintering EU

Yes it could.

both are in the path to ruin.

I blame the [expunged].
People should stop fucking with interest rates, printing money and inflation.

If I were the EU I'd be very careful about a Free Trade Agreement with the US because successive US governments have shown that their concept of 'free trade' is giving US companies near-to-unrestricted access to your markets and pulling related laws into alignment with US laws and as a reward the US will lower their import tarrifs from their partner countries on selected goods by as much as 10%...

Expect protests and possibly riots in Paris if the US tries to lower European agricultural subsidies as part of the agreement... not that it takes much to get French farmers to protest and riot. I wonder if that guy still has his shit catapult truck? That was cool.

RhombusHatesYou:
If I were the EU I'd be very careful about a Free Trade Agreement with the US because successive US governments have shown that their concept of 'free trade' is giving US companies near-to-unrestricted access to your markets and pulling related laws into alignment with US laws and as a reward the US will lower their import tarrifs from their partner countries on selected goods by as much as 10%...

Mmmm. I'd be surprised if that wasn't what the US was trying to do, TBH.

RhombusHatesYou:
If I were the EU I'd be very careful about a Free Trade Agreement with the US because successive US governments have shown that their concept of 'free trade' is giving US companies near-to-unrestricted access to your markets and pulling related laws into alignment with US laws and as a reward the US will lower their import tarrifs from their partner countries on selected goods by as much as 10%...

Expect protests and possibly riots in Paris if the US tries to lower European agricultural subsidies as part of the agreement... not that it takes much to get French farmers to protest and riot. I wonder if that guy still has his shit catapult truck? That was cool.

Hah, gives me reason to recall the USSR's abusive relationship with its bitches state satellites in the golden days.

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