Why do we need TTIP you ask if the US is already the EU’s biggest trade partner and strong economic ties exist?
That may be so, but still, countries including Lithuania, Austria, Belgium and Ireland are set to gain most through TTIP. This and more facts and figures assessing the economic and social benefits for EU businesses, consumers and citizens from TTIP can be found in a new World Trade Institute (WTI) report study on “TTIP and the EU Member States”, commissioned by the American Chamber of Commerce to the EU (AmChamEU). With the 12th TTIP negotiating round finishing off last week, the WTI study is extremely timely as the next few months will be crucial to achieving progress for an ambitious and comprehensive TTIP.
Back to the report: it concludes that the deeper the existing (direct and indirect) economic relationship between an EU Member State and the US, the higher the expected income level benefits from TTIP. In addition, there is an opportunity with TTIP to promote a ‘race to the top’ on labour, environmental, and health and safety standards on both sides of the Atlantic. When I got my hands on the report, I first looked of course at the chapter on TTIP & Austria, my home country. And what a great example it is: Austria already has a strong economic relationship with the US, yet still TTIP could increase exports to the US by 64%. By reducing tariff and non-tariff measures, without lowering standards, TTIP could generate significant increases in production of car parts and components by firms in Austria (+19.9%) with exports in this sector expected to increase by €2.5 bn. Here’s a great concrete example that’s included too: For Austrians the price of an average car could go down by 1.6 percent because of TTIP.
Similar gains in exports to the US are expected all over the EU - leading here is Slovakia with a predicted 116% gain, +48% for Sweden, +38% for Germany, +36% for Hungary, +35 % for Bulgaria, +26% for Poland, and +23% for France.
Next I looked at Belgium: It also already has strong economic ties with the US with chemicals and pharmaceuticals, machinery, and ICT services as the main export sectors to the US. But with TTIP, Belgian exports to the US would be expected to increase by 27% and consumer prices will go down marginally by 0.1 percent.
All this shows that TTIP is set to create the largest economic partnership ever, with GDP increases for all but one EU Member State alongside export increases, wage increases, as well as consumer price decreases for the majority of EU Member States, alongside a small decline in income inequality. TTIP is also expected to have especially positive effects for SMEs if it focuses on addressing practical barriers to trade.
Want more facts? In the same week as the WTI study was issues, DG TRADE also released the most recent guide to EU Trade since 2004. Now if economic figures are your thing, you will like this. It provides an overview on the current state of and recent developments in the EU’s trade with the rest of the world. It also confirms the EU and US as the world’s biggest trading blocs; with the EU covering almost 19.5% and the US 17.5 % of global trade in goods and services shares. So that’s why we need TTIP in my view.