COMMISSIONER FOR TRADE ON TTIP – 22 APRIL

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COMMISSIONER FOR TRADE ON TTIP - 22 APRIL
22 Apr 2015

COMMISSIONER FOR TRADE ON TTIP – 22 APRIL

Brussels Daily

Highlights from the Speech by Cecilia Malmström to the EESC on Working Together for the Right Kind of TTIP

Let’s start with TTIP’s three benefits. They are, in the first place, economic.

TTIP can help us create new opportunities for exporting EU companies and therefore new opportunities for our people to work in them. 31 million Europeans already have these jobs supported by the export of EU goods. TTIP can help us secure these and provide more of them.

This is about SMEs as much as big companies. 150 000 small European companies export to the US. They make up almost 30% of our exports across the Atlantic.

Last week I met with some of them in France and in the Netherlands. It’s inspiring to see their ambition and their drive. But it’s also frustrating to see how their efforts can be blocked by bureaucracy and red tape.

This week I announced the results of a survey of EU SMEs. It showed that there are real barriers to their exports to the US, and that TTIP can help address many of them. The right kind of TTIP will do just that.

TTIP is also about using imports to our economic benefit. More open transatlantic trade would give consumers a wider choice of cheaper products – like clothes for example. Companies – in turn – will get a wider choice of cheaper parts, components and services. That will help them take on the world and succeed!

The second benefit of TTIP is more effective government.

As many of you know, this deal is all about stronger cooperation on regulation. That will create economic benefits. But it will also mean our regulation is better able to protect people and the environment. The EU and the US have the best regulators in the world. If they work together they will get better results.

And where we have differences, we just won’t work together. TTIP will not lower standards. And it will not change our laws on hormone treated beef or genetically modified organisms.

Beyond regulation, TTIP will also help us better deliver public services like health, education and water. It will do that by lowering the costs of the goods and services governments buy in order to provide services to people. Meanwhile Member States will remain free to organise their public service systems the way they want.

The third of TTIP benefit is strategic. If there is one thing that all the groups that you represent know for certain, it’s that the world is changing.

The economy is becoming more integrated through physical and digital trade and investment. As a result, the 21st century will see new demand for true global rules on how that trade is carried out. At the same time, China, India and many other countries are gaining in wealth and influence. And Europe and the United States are declining, in relative terms.

So just as we need our international influence the most, we have less of it. TTIP can help us address this challenge.

The US and the EU share the values on which we want future trade rules to be based. We believe in high standards of regulation, in human rights, in WTO-based trade rules and in open markets.

By striking an alliance with the US around exactly these questions we are both strengthening of our voices in the world.

 

I think that most of you will agree that Europe should aim for these benefits. And that the best way to do that is if we speak with a united voice.

That means we need to talk about the concerns that some are raising. I have alluded to some of them already. But I would like to focus on one issue right now, since I know that you are working on it intensely. I’m talking about investment protection and investor to state dispute settlement.

This is a sensitive topic but I firmly believe we can find a way around our disagreements.

That’s why I’ve tried to open a discussion on this issue, with Parliament and Member States, and now today with you, and we will continue engaging on this point.

As I told the EP’s International Trade Committee last month, we want to share some ideas with all interested parties and see what we can come to agree on.

My starting point is that some form of investment arbitration in TTIP would be a good thing.

It would be the best way to kick-start reform of the existing system of 3000 agreements around the world, since the EU and the US are the world’s largest foreign investors and hosts of foreign investment.

And it would make sure that European companies don’t find themselves at a disadvantage in the US when Japanese and Canadian companies have their investments protected.

But we in the Commission also believe that the existing investment agreements are old fashioned and need to be updated.

That’s why our agreement with Canada, known as CETA, already goes so far to modernise the system. Let me give you some examples:

  • We have included a reference to the right of governments to regulate in the public interest.
  • We clarified investment protection standards to make it much more difficult to abuse the system.
  • We made the arbitration process more transparent and established a mandatory code of conduct for arbitrators.
  • And we gave the governments, not the arbitrators, the ultimate control over the interpretation of the rules. If the EU and Canada do not agree with the decision of an arbitrator, we may issue a legally binding statement on how we want the rules to be interpreted.

Read full speech: TTIP SPEECH tradoc_153351

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