Monday 8th July 2013, TTIP negotiations kicked off in Washington today – So we finally made it to the starting post! Feels like we already ran the race. So what is on my mind? Two worlds that are really important to us at BAB are policy formation and trade promotion, and we see their intersection through TTIP.
Trade and investment promotion is the life blood of exports, imports and investments, making the best of the status quo. TTIP is about taking the next step forward and is a major policy project and opportunity. Yet, these seem to be quite often separate and different worlds with different actors playing leading roles.
At BAB in London, we see many state Governors who have structures of governance both within their states and as a collective of powerful drivers of everything which is not federal in the US. Yet today, if you were to poll them on what is in it for them from TTIP, the answer might not be positive.
That’s because their mandates and focus are all about trade promotion, with the negotiations for TTIP being carried out in far off places, like Washington and Brussels, by political figures way removed from their orbits. Yet these guys are going to be critical in delivering some of the compromises. Just like in Europe, there are key actors beyond the scope of the negotiating teams, which we need to identify and sign up if a deal is going to get traction.
Another aspect of this same phenomenon has been our experience on the road with our TTIP road show. There is plenty of interest in how to overcome barriers and obstacles to entry in North American markets. Yet there is less interest in a policy opportunity and world which seems far off in time and space.
This has led us to reflect that we need to be talking about TTIP as an extension of a business opportunity and structure the conversation and subject matters in ways relevant to business people i.e. how you move products and services; people and their mobility; getting export finance to grow; and compliance with sometimes bizarre duplications in regulatory systems.
This is the first blog in a series of blogs about TTIP, where we will be asking contributors to give their insights on local, specific and tangible outcomes that they would like to see from the negotiations.