Medium-sized industrial companies need a good TTIP

Ulrich Ackermann is confident that a draft free trade agreement between the USA and the EU could be ready by the end of the year. “But it is more important to be thorough than fast,” warned the Head of VDMA Foreign Trade.

He sees media reports claiming that France is a potential hurdle to the progress of the negotiations as a further call to the negotiating delegations to not rule out any issue. “A kind of ‘TTIP light’ is not our aim, nor is it the aim of the EU Commission. We are advocating a comprehensive agreement, even if it takes a few months longer.”

The Head of VDMA Foreign Trade stressed that a well-negotiated free trade agreement between the USA and the EU would be of particular benefit to medium-sized industrial companies. This was in reaction to a Prognos study that shows that the majority of medium-sized companies do not expect to benefit from TTIP.  “Medium-sized companies are of course a broad church. Medium-sized industrial companies, which are typical of German medium-sized companies in general, are looking forward to advantages. Our companies know very well that a well-negotiated contract will be a further boost to their already good sales in America.” The American and European economies moving closer together would also give new stimulus to world trade as a whole, he said.

“There are a few doubts about TTIP here and there, but they are unfounded,” assured Ackermann. After all, medium-sized companies would benefit particularly from the reduction in trade barriers – barriers that large corporations can already bypass by various means. But the VDMA foreign trade expert was very clear on one thing: “What we need is a good TTIP.” This would include the abolition of duplicate inspections and basing the US technical rules more closely on international ISO and IEC standards.

The Head of VDMA Foreign Trade was also skeptical about the reliability of the Prognos study, given that less than half of the 800 medium-sized companies surveyed does any foreign trade at all. “And of this less than half, only a third have trade relationships with North America, so I am not surprised that the majority is not expecting to gain much from TTIP,” said Ackermann.

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