Since 2009, when president Barack Obama came into power, a “pivotation” regarding the U.S. foreign policy has taken place. The idea of the Obama administration’s strategic “pivot” from the Middle East to East Asia seems to be challenged with the negotiations of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.
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The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP, is a proposed free trade agreement that would link the world's two largest economies: the United States and Europe. If successfully negotiated, the TTIP would replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as the world’s largest free trade area, with a combined GDP of $31.06 trillion.
On the one hand, the TTIP implies advantages such as a greater economical growth, which would create more jobs and prosperity for two giant engines of the world's economy; reduce high unemployment levels left over from the 2008 financial crisis; improvement of the political bilateral relations between the U.S. and the European Union; and boost the economy by reducing costs (for example the removal of double-taxations).
On the other hand, TTIP could also involve some negative aspects such as the disappearance of small business due to the increased competition and the possible monopoles that big enterprises may build. The U.S.A. and specially, the E.U. would have to give up protectionist measures in industries such as agriculture, energy.. For example, European agribusiness would suffer from cheaper American-made food imports. In addition, the E.U. bans all genetically-modified crops and meat from animals treated with growth hormones. It also refuses poultry that's been washed with chlorine. These are all practices common with U.S. food. European consumers would complain loudly if these bans were lifted. They feel the ban protects them from tainted or lower quality food and public criticism may arise with the implementation of the TTIP.
It is estimated that until late 2015 or early fall 2015, technical negotiations would not conclude. Then the agreement will be submitted to the US Congress and the European Parliament for their consideration and hopefully their approval in the months of January-April 2016. If it goes as planned, the agreement will be approved by late spring of 2016 and on January 1st 2017 the TTIP will be implemented.
Since Colonial times, the Atlantic has been of key importance regarding trade, alliances and economic relationships. We can say that the last time we could see the Atlantic as the major ocean from a geopolitical point of view was during the Cold War. This agreement will relocate the focus of Americans towards their historical allies responding to those who argue that the U.S. was more interested in the Pacific (eg. The Trans-Pacific Partnership: U.S. Trade agreement with Pacific countries such as Japan, Philippines…).
An agreement would strengthen the geo-political standing of the Trans-Atlantic bloc against the rising economic power of China, India and other Pacific nations, as well as the growing success of Latin America. If the U.S. and E.U. could iron out their differences, they could stand as a united front against market threats from the rest of the world.