Giraffe and cloudsThe high politics of international trade continues to attract much international interest. Central to this are the so-called mega-regional trade agreements, notably the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). We have been closely involved in analysing the implications of both arrangements, in terms of geopolitics; impact on the WTO; and economic implications for those not included in them, particularly the African, Caribbean, and Pacific countries which we previously reported on.

The latest effort includes my involvement in the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Global Trade and FDI System, which has just released its report on the subject and contains many interesting insights from multiple perspectives. I presented key insights from this report in Bonn recently, at a public event organized by the German Development Institute. The turnout was good, and the discussion intense; not surprising given the German public’s interest in overall relations with the US in the wake of ongoing spying revelations and controversy over investor-state dispute settlement systems in investment agreements.

Previously Tutwa Germany Director Andreas Freytag coordinated a research project for the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, the political foundation linked to Angela Merkel’s governing party, on the implications of the TTIP for Europe. This covered economic implications; and explored the politics of the proposed agreement.

We expect that this subject will remain of intense international interest. As far as business is concerned the key implications are environmental in nature. Essentially, these agreements, if successfully concluded, have the potential to rearrange global geopolitics, trade flows, and trade regulations at many levels. Therefore they bear close watching even if, from the southern tip of Africa, they appear to be taking place in another world.