French President François Hollande and President Obama said the proposed U.S.-European Union trade accord is important to both countries and they are committed to its successful negotiation despite political hurdles.
At a joint press conference Tuesday, the two leaders also unveiled a new bilateral Economic-Commercial Dialogue.
“We need to get this done because an agreement could increase exports by tens of billions of dollars, support hundreds of thousands of additional jobs both in the U.S. and the European Union, and promote growth on both sides of the Atlantic,” said Obama, referring to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership launched in July.
Obama said small- and medium-sized companies stand to benefit most from export opportunities the accord can bring about, adding that “it can mean jobs and growth in France and the United States.”
Most experts feel, however, that Obama needs to be granted presidential trade promotion authority to achieve this accord and the more controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement between the U.S. and 11 other countries, which is said to be in its final stages of negotiations. TPA allows Congress to only vote up or down on trade pacts, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) recently said he was against granting it to Obama and that it was “not the right time” to bring it up. RELATED STORY: Sen. Harry Reid Speaks Out Against TPA >>
Responding to a question, Hollande said, “I am aware of the debate in Congress. Speed is not of the essence. It would be a good thing, but what is important is that…we negotiate in good faith and move forward as quickly as possible.”
The French president said a U.S.-EU accord would open up markets, remove nontariff barriers, and “we really want to reach this agreement because it will contribute to growth.”
Both presidents noted the importance of greater economic cooperation between the countries as the U.S. Department of Commerce and French Ministry of Economy and Finance have agreed to establish a U.S.-France Economic-Commercial Dialogue to enhance bilateral cooperation and to expand trade and investment. The dialogue aims to identify ways to boost jobs and growth in both countries and to improve competitiveness through innovation and entrepreneurship.
Obama and Hollande said both countries already have strong foreign investments in each other’s economies, and the new agreement is intended to strengthen that. According to a White House fact sheet, France’s foreign direct investment in the U.S. stood at $222 billion at the end of 2012. France is one of the top five sources of jobs created by FDI in the U.S., with American affiliates of French firms employing about 525,000 Americans in 2011 at an average wage of nearly $80,000.
At the same time, the U.S. was the leading job-creating investor in France in 2012, with U.S. FDI stock in France totaling $83 billion. More than 1,240 affiliates of U.S. firms were present in France in 2012, supporting about 440,000 jobs. France was the U.S.’ eighth-largest goods-trading partner in 2013, with U.S. exports to France valued at $32 billion and imports from France totaling $45 billion.
Obama said the alliance with France “has never been stronger,” including working together on global political issues involving Iran and Syria. Hollande said the U.S. economic recovery is “an example to be followed” and serves as a lesson to Europe in promoting innovation.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast