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TTIP: A Spark for Global Growth or a Race to the Bottom in Standards?
Opposing Voices Coming to Rome October 29th

In the 21st century, nuanced political and economic debate is all too often overshadowed by the loudest voices in the room. Constructive debate is passé and emotions rule.

We fear the echo chamber effect, so prevalent in 21st century politics has taken over TTIP negotiations.

Perhaps this has already happened in the debates surrounding current trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Pact (TTIP) negotiations. To believers in the project, TTIP is an obvious kickstarter for lagging economies in the US and Europe. For those opposed to the project, TTIP will yield only lower labor and health standards.

Where is the debate?

But where is the debate? And can’t we find a middle ground that satisfies both sides? To do so, we must move from beyond the echo chambers, and towards a true and measured conversation.

As the latest contentious round of TTIP talks wraps up, new EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström, prepared to take office by calling for greater transparency.  Shortly thereafter over 400 activist groups took to the streets throughout Europe protesting not just aspects of the negotiations, but also lack of information and citizen input.

Either we are not listening or we’re not hearing.

Photo showing Cecilia Malstroem, member of the EU Parliament Cecilia Malström (© European Parliament/Pietro Naj-Oleari)

So the Global Economic Dynamics team is looking forward to heading to Rome next week for TTIP Reloaded. In coordination with Fondazione Giacomo Brodolini, Bertelsmann Stiftung is sponsoring what we hope will be a deep breath and open minds as we bring together voices as disparate as Monique Goyens (Director General, European Consumers’ Organization) and Marietje Schaake (Member of the Committee on International Trade of the European Parliament). Joined by labor and trade experts from the U.S. and the E.U., we will be presenting new research and examining new perspectives, hopefully eliciting passionate and informative debate on several provocative topics including:

  • What are key lessons learned from almost two years of negotiations on a transatlantic deal?
  • Is TTIP killing the WTO?
  • With differing labor standards across participating nations, will TTIP lead to a race to the bottom?

But there is another VIP for the event: You!

You can view the entire agenda, attend in person or follow the conversation via our live stream or on Twitter (Hashtag #TTIP14Reloaded). We’ll be previewing some of the new research we will be presenting and some of our predictions in another post later this week.