THE BLOG

Says Yes to TTIP

14/07/2015 12:17 BST | Updated 13/07/2016 10:59 BST

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or simply TTIP, is a deal between the EU and the US. The deal will allow the two largest economies in the world that represent 60% of global GDP to trade more easily and benefit 820 million consumers. It aims to achieve this by breaking down a number of regulations that divide the two economies, which could result in an increase of 0.5% growth to the GDP's of both countries.

The European Commission's calculations suggests that every EU citizen will benefit from the extra €119 billion in annual profit that the trade deal will generate, making every citizen richer by €545. Other calculations have forecasted that the US is set to make an extra $104 billion a year too. Critics such as Owen Tudor have, however, highlighted that as a countries GDP increases, where there are no defenses against inequality, inequality grows.

However, as has been the case for many years' economists have traditionally used GDP to measure economic progress. In summary, "if GDP is rising, the economy is good and the nation is moving forward. If GDP is falling, the economy is in trouble and the nation is losing ground". With forecasts indicating a potential growth in GDP as a result of TTIP surely then an implication will be that the number of opportunities available for individuals to better their quality of life will increase.

In fact many industries will benefit and grow as a result of TTIP such as, pharmaceutical, energy, clothing and textiles, and food and drink companies for example will see direct benefits from the removal of export tariffs and the allowing of exportation of new products that without TTIP are not possible to export. Many might highlight that TTIP will lead to companies exploiting workers and exploiting differences between EU and US standards, this simply is not true. As John Hilary states, "TTIP is about reaching behind the barriers and removing the standards and rules big business don't like dealing with, like labour standards, environmental standards, food safety standards".

Another fear is that "the TTIP deal hands British sovereignty to multinationals", which Owen capitalizes on in his article, but the EU officials want to include wording designed to keep governments free to run services like the NHS through "tried and tested" provisions. Given that this represents a large section of the core argument opposing TTIP it seems hard to continue opposing TTIP once this argument has been dismantled. Anti-TTIP support, however, continues to grow. The 'Stop TTIP' petition, for example, at the time of writing, has 2,317,013 signatures.

You might ask then what about the 'investor-state dispute settlement', or ISDS, section of the agreement, which allows businesses to take legal action against governments if they act in ways that infringes on the trade agreement. My answer is simple, if you were an investor would you not like some security or protection that "prohibits discrimination against foreign investors, expropriation, denying access to the courts and arbitrary and abusive treatment"? This is what the ISDS offers.

Given that we have now entered the tenth round of negotiations in Brussels, which will last from the 13-17 July, I urge that all member states in principle agree to TTIP. The agreement will generate €223million extra income and create over one million jobs. We can't afford to lose the progress we are making towards a world where trade is unaffected by unnecessary barriers and tariffs, especially not by the hand of ill informed propaganda campaigners. The cost of losing this progress will be dear otherwise, a cost that will mostly be felt by consumers. It is time to say goodbye to import tariffs and restrictions on trade and welcome a more competitive Europe.