By Daniel Hunter

The CBI’s Brussels director Sean McGuire outlined the benefits to the UK of the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement between the EU and the US to the BIS select committee, after a petition against the deal received more than one million signatures in two months.

During the session, Sean emphasised that the UK already exports nearly £50 billion worth of services to the US every year — an increase of almost 50% since 2009 — and TTIP is a great opportunity to build on this success.

In particular, Sean confirmed members would like to see solutions to some difficult trade and investment barriers in key services sectors, including aviation, shipping, telecoms and professional services.

To accomplish this, Sean stated that we should push for full tariff elimination. Most tariffs are already low, so all industrial tariffs must be removed upon entry into force of TTIP. This will lead to major cost savings for companies of all sizes, helping to boost intra-company trade and free up capital for long-term investment.

Most importantly, we need to tackle regulatory barriers in goods and services. This is critical - about 80% of the value from TTIP is estimated to come from action here. There are many examples where EU and US regulators have rules in place that result in the same or very similar high standards of consumer protection, yet products still have to go through further testing or certification requirements in the other market. This costs companies time and money.

Sean emphasised that the wider benefits of the proposed agreement should not be discarded or put at risk by disagreements over perceived effects of ISDS to the public sector, and that any concerns in this regard should be addressed as part of the negotiations.

Campaigners yesterday (Thursday) said that more than one million people had signed a petition against the deal in just two months.

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