Remarks by United States Trade Representative Michael Froman at the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership First Round Opening Plenary
Office of the United States Trade Representative
July 8, 2013
*As Prepared for Delivery*
“I want to welcome everyone to USTR on an important day in transatlantic relations – the first round of negotiations of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, the first step toward making T-TIP a reality.
“Although negotiations are just beginning, this day has been a long time coming. From the evolution of the Transatlantic Economic Council to the work of the U.S.-EU High Level Working Group for Jobs and Growth, our teams have been laying the foundation for today’s negotiations by identifying the opportunities to bring our two economies closer together and the mechanisms for doing so.
“In TTIP, we have the opportunity to accomplish something very significant for our economies, for our relationship, and for the global trading system as a whole.
“We have an opportunity to spur growth and to generate significant increases in the already substantial number of jobs supported by transatlantic trade and investment.
“We have the opportunity to complement one of the greatest alliances of all time with an equally compelling economic relationship.
“And we have the opportunity to work together to establish and enforce international norms and standards that will help inform and strengthen the multilateral, rules-based trading system.
“We go into this exercise with eyes wide open. We know there will be challenges. But we also know that there is strong political will at the highest levels on both sides of the Atlantic determined to stay focused and get this done on one tank of gas. I have every confidence that we can achieve this goal.
“Promoting growth, creating jobs, strengthening the middle class – these are the principles that animate President Obama’s economic policies, including this Administration’s trade policy.
“As President Obama said in Northern Ireland last month, T-TIP can be a success if “we can achieve the kind of high-standard, comprehensive agreement that the global trading system is looking to us to develop.”
“European Leaders have expressed similar hopes and support for T-TIP as one component of an overall strategy to return Europe to a path of growth.
“In view of this leader-level attention, Commissioner De Gucht and I intend to stay very much involved in these negotiations.
“We will give our teams the space they need to move forward and find solutions, but we will stay very closely engaged to ensure that we are finding those solutions. We want you to avoid unnecessary delays, but we also recognize that the most important thing is to get the substance right. We need to resist the temptation to downsize our ambitions or avoid tough issues just for the sake of getting a deal.
“So, be creative, be flexible, and think outside of the box as necessary to make progress.
“When you have difficulties working through issues, know that you will have my support to help reach a mutually beneficial and comprehensive outcome – an outcome that meets the economic priorities of both the United States and the European Union.
“I wish you all a productive and enjoyable week and I look forward to hearing of your progress over the course of this week.
“Thanks again for all the work you’ve done to get us to this point.
“And thank you for the work still to come.”