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The Business Forum Journal


Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership

By Daniel A. T. Dalton
Member of the European Parliament



The critics and cynics of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) may have found solace in stalling progress in the European Parliament, but I believe that this is a momentous stage for the development of trans Atlantic trade than cannot be just cast aside and forgotten at this moment in history; it is our undeniable duty to ensure that it is both agreed and signed at the earliest opportunity.

Whether you live in Birmingham England, or in Birmingham Alabama, the concerns are broadly the same if you look at the situation from a purely logical point of view � which will allow us to ensure that the interests of the workers and consumers will not, yet again, be sacrificed for corporate greed.

In Europe we have an added dimension in that that people fear environmental regulations will be harmonized with what is perceived to be far less effective and environmental American rules. While in America it would appear that fears are far more about import competition and job outsourcing.

We should never forget that one of government's main duties is to regulate business in the public interest. The key to this responsibility is not to over regulate; should we do that business will not come to our shores and those that have located within our borders will leave.

Company's choose where they wish to locate themselves. eBay in Europe bases itself in Ireland and Amazon in Luxembourg. (Taxes and Trade Regulations alone create these relocations).

TTIP actually gives European and the American governments more control not less. Look at European standards on food safety and chemicals.  Both the U.S. and EU have standards far more robust than those in China, India, Mexico or Brazil.  Just by working together, through such a trade agreement, we could demand that the world follow our lead, or we could simply ban their exports to us as inferior and potentially dangerous to our citizens. Countries that want to sell to us in future will have to meet the legal standard
s we set.  Only TTIP gives us that leverage and improves the safety of our citizens.

The investor-state dispute settlement, which faces strong opposition in Europe, is yet another good example of the benefits our citizens will enjoy.  Provisions like this date back to the 1950's and were intended to encourage foreign investment in countries with weak legal systems.  It allowed investors independent arbitration if governments expropriated their property. TTIP updates this scheme and thereby will ensure that corporations will not have the power to challenge legitimate public regulations and our laws.  How can anyone claim that that is not a good idea?

TTIP will also have to address the thorny issue of work place standards.  Since the late eighties Congress has insisted its trade partners adhere to enforceable standards.  A cynic would suggest that this is designed to increase costs for companies, that wish to invest in developing countries by raising wages and improving working conditions.  Since EU regulations and investment rules are much tougher, a properly negotiated TTIP has the chance to strengthen American standards, and to bring the U.S. and EU together in promoting stronger standards in all their trading partner countries.

We now have to sift through two hundred amendments before we get the chance to vote on it. Congress will also get its chance shortly. May I state the obvious, that this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for governments to write and enforce better rules for global trade.  Failure to act and we have failed the very constituents that need us the most.

Daniel Dalton is a Fellow of The Business Forum Institute and he became a Member of the European Parliament in January 2015, representing the West Midlands region of the United Kingdom for the Conservative Party.  For some years prior to that he was an Agriculture specialist, focused on European agricultural policy and the reform process of the Common Agriculture Policy.  Daniel is a graduate of both Coventry and Warwick Universities. For many years he managed his own sports coaching business and was a professional cricketer for Warwickshire County Cricket Club.  As an MEP Daniel is focused on ensuring the West Midlands diverse interests are represented in Brussels and in Strasbourg The West Midlands is a centre of manufacturing, as well as having a large service sector and being world famous as an area of horticultural excellence.  He sits on the Internal Markets and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO) of the European Parliament, where he has been appointed as the Coordinator (lead negotiator) for the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) Group.  The focus of the IMCO committee is on creating a truly single market throughout the European Union and upon breaking down barriers to trade which many companies often experience when trading across Europe.

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