To promote the world’s largest trade deal, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), most officials would talk from behind the lectern or, maybe, have staffers hand out informational leaflets on the street.
TTIP negotiations were launched in 2013 by the Obama administration and the European Commission to achieve what the commission calls “the cheapest stimulus package imaginable.”
Instead of talking it up in lecture halls, U.S. diplomats in Portugal and Sweden recently hopped on their favorite “rides” to attract attention to the deal’s potential economic benefits.
Robert Sherman, the U.S. ambassador to Portugal, likes to drive. On various occasions recently, he has been spotted on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle or behind the wheel of a vintage Ford Mustang or Ford Focus electric car. He stopped at city halls and factories to explain to everyone he could find that doing away with tariffs and red tape would boost Portuguese exports to the U.S. and create jobs.
Some Europeans worry that a trans-Atlantic trade deal may erode their laws on environmental protection or labor security. But Sherman has been making clear the advantages of an agreement. “A vibrant trade relationship … will advantage companies on both sides of the Atlantic,” he said in Coimbra.
Two-wheeled messenger on a ‘T-Trip’
On the northern flank of the European Union, Mark Brzezinski, the U.S. ambassador to Sweden, biked 650 kilometers to talk up TTIP to officials, businesspeople and workers.
“It was incredibly inspiring to hear from gym owners, car pool companies and local farmers,” he said on his blog.
TTIP could boost the EU’s economy by 120 billion euros and the U.S. economy by 90 billion euros, as well as create several million new jobs, according to U.S. and European Union officials.
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative leads the U.S. negotiating team.