Transatlantic Integration: The TTIP under Scrutiny
Journal of Modern Accounting and Auditing
In view of the already relatively low most-favored-nation (MFN) rates on average, today's most impeding barriers to transatlantic trade are not custom tariffs but so-called behind-the-border measures. TTIP was originally destined to become a verily comprehensive trade and investment agreement in acknowledgment of this circumstance. But its distinctively ambitious agenda exposed both camps' opposing positions on several fronts at the same time. Considering that the negotiations had already hit
... s had already hit several road blocks under the espousing Obama administration, the protectionist convictions and "America First" policy of the incumbent US President promised to complicate many of these contentious issues. Cherished as a popular tool in the business environment, the SWOT analysis also stood the test in the innovative context of identifying internal strengths and weaknesses of TTIP as well as external opportunities and threats to its conclusion further down the line. Juxtaposing its intrinsic strengths and weaknesses of TTIP unveils a mixed picture, alike so often in real life where no absolute truth exists. Nevertheless, the research demonstrates that there are compelling economic incentives for revitalizing the bilateral talks with respect to the likely transformations it would bring about in terms of market organization and functioning, production and distribution efficiency, national income, consumer satisfaction and, not least, regulation harmonization. Examining the matter from a different angle by asking "What are the probable implications of the scenario where the negotiations on a transatlantic trade and investment agreement will not be reinstated in the near future?" provided further illuminating insights. This approach revealed that neither the EU nor the US can actually afford to perpetuate the current status quo. Without TTIP, the relative size of the transatlantic pole is bound to dwindle in the global economy. Let alone the long-term geostrategic damage caused by its absence, as the EU and the US would miss out on the last chance to impose their joint vision of 21st century commerce on the rest of the world and preempt China from doing so instead. A glance at the corresponding external opportunities and threats suggests that the pendula could swing in either direction in terms of the TTIP's destiny. The author believes that Brussels will be hesitant to re-embark on delicate trade negotiations until the next US presidential election, in the hope that a more amicable and more reliable counterpart would enter the White House. The Commission will be too distracted anyway by the coinciding Brexit from taking the initiative any time soon. The UK's exit represents a double-edged sword in this context, as the dueling race for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the US will immediately start once this all-consuming affair is settled and tied up capacities are recuperated. But for also reaching the finishing line-synonymous for the successful ratification of TTIP-it is imperative to learn from the mistakes of the past. Aloof officials have to put themselves in the shoes of ordinary citizens if they want to formulate convincing narratives and draw the right lessons from previous mistakes.