As a member of the EU-US delegation and the International Trade Committee, I support proposals for a closer trade partnership between the EU and the US. I would like to see an ambitious however calculated EU trade agreement with the US which would tear down trade barriers, open up investment opportunities, boost EU exports and particularly benefit Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), which make up 99.7% of all Irish businesses.
From an Irish perspective, Ireland exports 80% of all its products, with 21% of Irish exports going to the US – our single biggest export market. Irish exporters currently pay €300 million in tariffs to the US Treasury. Behind the border, barriers inhibit exports from Ireland and impose costs. The estimated cost equivalent of non-tariff barriers is 73% for food and beverage, 15% for electrical machinery. The benefits of removing custom duties on certain goods will undeniably benefit Irish producers. The predicted growth for the Irish economy is estimated at 1.1% GDP, at €2 billion. The economic links between Ireland and the US are extremely close. Ireland, as a destination for US investment, is bigger than many regions of the world including China and Latin America. Ireland has been a magnet for US technology and pharmaceutical companies for nearly three decades, serving as the European base for many of these companies. 2016 saw a record 99 new investments that helped to create jobs at the fastest rate for 15 years.
President Trump has openly criticised Free Trade Agreement, however, my colleagues and I in the Delegation and INTA committee remain hopeful that Mr. Trump or his successor will recognise the benefits of greater free trade between the EU and US.