Full Title: Considerations for the Treatment of Energy in TTIP
Author(s): Keith J. Benes
Publisher(s): Columbia SIPA Center on Global Energy Policy
Publication Date: 09/2015
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While the negotiations between the United States and the European Union for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) have not received as much US press attention as the proposed US-Pacific basin TransPacific Partnership (TTP) has, the two deals are of a similar magnitude and importance in terms of total global GDP and trade potentially at issue.
One key issue that has emerged from the TTIP negotiations is a disagreement over whether to include a separate chapter on energy. The European Union favors such a chapter, in hopes it would help it secure access to increasing production of US oil and natural gas and potentially serve as a set of model trade-in-energy provisions that would help in negotiations with other countries, particularly those to its East. Highly dependent on Russian oil and natural gas, the EU has been looking for ways to diversify its supply base. The United States has not outright opposed such a chapter, but has indicated skepticism that it is necessary.
The dynamics of the negotiation put both sides in potential unusual positions. The United States, long a champion of removing export barriers in energy goods and of the European Union diversifying its energy supplies, has to wrestle with restrictions on crude oil exports and the potential strong domestic political opposition to relaxing them. The European Union, which supports alternative energy sources and reducing fossil fuel consumption, faces becoming entangled in the environmental controversies around the rapidly expanding oil and gas production in North America – including hydraulic fracturing and the exploitation of the Canadian oil sands. This paper provides background on how the existing global and regional trade regime applies to energy for policy-makers and TTIP negotiators.