Institute Hosts European Union Delegation
On October 21st the Schwarzenegger Institute hosted a European Liberal Forum (ELF) delegation that was visiting the United States ahead of the November 8th Presidential Election. The delegation - which was led by Anna-Maja Henriksson, Member of Parliament of Finland, and included young political professionals from across Europe - traveled to the United States to examine the presidential electoral system in the final weeks of a closely contested campaign and to gain insights into what effect the outcome will have on international trade negotiations.
The delegation has followed the campaign closely and had many questions and concerns with both candidates' policy and rhetoric on international trade issues. Also, they were particularly interested to know what policy makers in California - the world's sixth largest economy according to the World Bank - made of the election and what impact it would have on the two major trade deals being negotiated by the Obama Administration, namely the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Brian Peck who manages international affairs and business development in Governor Brown's Office of Business and Economic Development joined the meeting and answered many of the technical questions raised by the delegation. Additionally he discussed the State of California's official approach to trade. Mr. Peck explained that international trade and investment are critical components of economic growth and job creation in the State and that the Office of Business and Economic Development remains committed to expanding California's trade and investment relations regardless of the results of the upcoming election. He then went on to discuss California's sub-national approach to trade negotiations and outline some of the tools that his team use to drive trade and investment for California, which include foreign direct investment, international trade promotion and memorandums of understanding agreements.
Conyers Davis, Director of Strategic Initiatives for the Institute and former Assistant Secretary for International Trade in the Schwarzenegger Administration, spoke to politics of the issue. He did not think that T-TIP or TPP would survive the presidential election campaign. Mr. Davis acknowledged that President Obama remains committed to the two trade deals but didn't feel that he would have enough leverage to push through either of the agreements before the new president was inaugurated on January 20th. The Europeans responded by pointing to similar political challenges, principally Brexit, that exist in Europe.
The Schwarzenegger Institute has a longstanding interest in trade issues and will continue to hold meetings with state, federal and international stake-holders to examine them more closely.