Published: Wed, 20 May 2015
Seán Kelly MEP (Ireland South) has called for a strong harmonisation of business regulations to be prioritised in the ongoing EU-US trade or Transatlantic Trade and Investment Agreement (TTIP) negotiations, in order to boost SME growth.
“With SMEs representing 99.7 percent of all Irish businesses and providing 68 percent of private sector jobs, the trade agreement currently being negotiated between the EU and the US will ensure that the obstacles facing our enterprises are eliminated. The reduction of non-tariff barriers and the cutting of red tape, for example, will enable our businesses to grow and become stronger players on the highly competitive global stage.”
An ambitious but calculated EU trade agreement with the US will tear down trade barriers, open up investment opportunities, boost EU exports and particularly benefit SMEs, according to Mr Kelly: “TTIP could lead to a €250 billion or 2 percent increase in EU GDP – equating to an annual extra €500 per European family, and the creation of over 2 million jobs across Europe.”
However, for SMEs currently trading with the US, complying with technical rules and regulations is cited as the most pressing concern, followed by the lack of regulatory information. Differences in US States’ regulation, customs rules and limited market access are all greatly limiting factors for European and Irish businesses.
“Ireland and the US have established significant economic and trade ties and with or without TTIP, these ties will remain strong. 21 percent of all our exports go to the US, with the US also being our largest trading partner in internationally-traded services. However, the limitations imposed on our companies due to the lack of regulatory convergence are far too great. New economic forces such as China and India continue to grow, increasing world competition and shaping the world economy. It will be crucial that we bring prosperity back to Europe, ensure new prospects for both workers and consumers, whilst simultaneously preserving our European values.”
Mr Kelly’s comments come ahead of a major TTIP information seminar the Fine Gael MEP will host in the European Parliament’s Dublin Office on May 26th as Ireland’s only member of the Parliament’s Trade Committee. Business leaders, elected representatives and media in attendance will receive an overview of the EU-US trade talks, ongoing negotiations, possible outcomes and the potential such a deal holds for Ireland.