Cutting Firms’ Costs, Boosting Investment, Strengthening Our Values

About the Author

Karel De Gucht

EU Trade Commissioner, European Commission

Thursdsay 27th March 2014, I want to focus on two aspects of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP – its potential benefits to the UK, and progress so far in our talks with the US.

First, the benefits. I’m convinced an ambitious deal can cut costs for UK firms,boost US investment in the UK, and strengthen the values which bind together Britain, its EU neighbours, and the US, even as the world changes.

Let me take each in turn. First, cutting costs. We want to slash red tape and get regulators on both sides of the Atlantic to work more closely together. This has the most potential for boosting trade. British companies of all sizes currently pay £1bn every year to get their goods into the US. The TTIP could remove this cost altogether. And we could do this while keeping the high standards of protection now in place in the UK and the rest of Europe.

Second, investment. Some 15 million jobs in the EU and the US depend directly on trade between us. Investment between us accounts for over 15% of the global total. And an ambitious EU-US deal could see the UK economy alone grow by an extra £10bn each year.

Third, values. An integrated global economy needs strong, clear rules which open up markets while protecting people from risks to their health or the environment.

Agreement between the EU and US would be a great start. But the rise of new powers in Asia, Latin America and soon in Africa means we’ll need a global deal, too. In that way we can build on our existing rules, and ensure high standards for everyone in health, the environment, labour and consumer protection.

My second point is about progress. We’re already making headway in all three of the agreement’s main areas – market access, regulation, and trade rules, which I’ve already mentioned.

On market access, we’ve already exchanged our first offers to cut import tariffs, but have still to make offers on trade in service services and public procurement. We need to do so in the next few months.

On regulation, we need regulators on both sides of the Atlantic to take an active part in the negotiations. Many already have.

On rules, we’re looking at new ways to build on our existing pledges on sustainable development; open up trade in energy and raw materials; and simplify customs procedures.

All this is achievable, but not overnight. 2014 will be a year of hard work towards our shared goal: an ambitious deal that boosts our economies – and more importantly, creates jobs.

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