By Daniel Hunter
The CBI is today (Thursday) hosting talks in Brussels with European political leaders, including the British Prime Minister David Cameron, European business groups and international companies on the importance of securing the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Further European leaders are expected to attend.
As the European Council begins, the CBI, the UK’s leading business group, is urging European national governments to deliver an ambitious agreement that could create thousands of jobs across the Continent. It is doing so in conjunction with its sister business federations in Germany, Italy, Spain, France, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Latvia.
John Cridland, CBI Director-General, said: “Europe’s business community has come together and is united in making a loud and clear clarion call to political leaders — this deal is vital for future growth and the prosperity for citizens across the EU. And could create thousands of new opportunities for our young people.
“A Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP) could be worth up to 120 billion EUR to the EU every year. As European politicians gather to drive through Commission President Juncker’s 315bn EUR investment package, they cannot ignore the significant contribution to jobs and growth that TTIP could also deliver.
“It would create an integrated market of over 800 million people, bringing more choices for consumers at cheaper prices. And with the UK already trading more and investing more with the US than any other country, there are real advantages to drive home particularly for smaller firms.
“TTIP would be the biggest free trade deal ever negotiated. Signing on the dotted line would help our ambitious exporters to access the US market and offer a direct boost to GDP and jobs. It would show that the new Commission means business and gets the need for EU reform.
“The UK Government and other national leaders must keep the pressure on to ensure any final agreement is ambitious. While public concerns need to be addressed, the debate must be guided by facts.”
Publishing its new report on transatlantic trade, the CBI has identified five key reasons as to why the successfully concluding this trade deal is so essential:
Big opportunities for small and mid-sized companies
Small and medium-sized firms stand to benefit the most from TTIP, given they often lack the time, budget and expertise to deal with trade roadblocks. A trade deal would help first-time exporters get their products to the US market at more competitive prices, and even non-exporters in the supply chain would benefit.
More choice and lower prices for consumers
Removal of tariff barriers means a bigger range of products in shops at cheaper prices. Tariffs do not just hurt companies and their employees — they also penalise the consumer. TTIP will put downward pressure on prices that consumers pay in the UK, and will help also help British exporters to get a foothold in the US.
Less red tape and bureaucracy
TTIP will remove unnecessary and costly red tape, particularly where there are duplications. High safety standards would not be undermined, with the idea that smarter regulation on both sides will reduce bureaucracy and make trade cheaper and faster for all.
Bigger footprint for the UK’s world-leading service companies
By tackling longstanding barriers to entry in the US market, the UK’s thriving services sector is well-placed to make significant in-roads. From engineering consultants to specialist insurers, TTIP can support the next wave of exciting services companies wanting to export to the US.
Higher investment creating new jobs
TTIP can help keep the UK as the leading place for US investors by promoting the free transfer of capital, a level playing field for all companies and better protections for investors and their investments.
Earlier in December, activists who oppose the trade deal said a petition against it had received more than one million signatures in just two months. Those opposed to the deal say it would put the NHS and other public services at risk of privatisation.
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