ECR Party

Jan Zahradil: No obvious alternative to TTIP

The fight against TTIP is largely ideological. No arguments are forthcoming beyond a general opposition to the United States and against trade liberalisation in general. These two themes have united the far-left, far-right, Green activists and parts of the Social Democrats. Unfortunately, the growing politicisation of trade issues (for example, during the presidential campaign in the US) and resultant panic still draws many supporters. As the arguments of those who oppose the agreement are proved wrong one after another, more focus is directed towards important technical mechanisms on investment protection.

Together the US and EU represent half the world’s GDP and a third of global trade. In terms of mutual trade, they are the largest trade partners in the world. Moreover, only an alliance between the two continents can guarantee the survival of democracy and the market economy. Naturally, it is not easy to find an agreement on the more technical details of TTIP, but we must remember that there is no obvious alternative to the idea of an “economic NATO”.

Like any trade liberalising agreement, TTIP raises questions and some concerns for both sides. However, we can be assured that TTIP will not result in job losses, but rather long-term job creation. With the help of TTIP, European companies will have access to the US market, to public procurement in the US and the opportunity for SMEs to compete in the US successfully. We can look forward to cheaper consumer goods and electronics – whose high prices are the result of unnecessary costs. Those who endlessly repeat stories of poisonous American food are either being wilfully misleading or not following real developments: the goal of TTIP is not the unification of sanitary and phytosanitary regulations to a lowest common denominator, but rather mutual recognition and the creation of new standards with global reach, as a model for the rest of the world.

Rather than dictating to consumers what products to buy (as socialists often advocate), the AECR’s aim is to ensure that consumers are provided with the necessary information to themselves make their own informed decisions. We hope that at least the basic parameters of the TTIP agreement will be negotiated soon. Otherwise, the EU risks being left behind and marginalised as new global trade rules are implemented.