Cabinet Minister Ken Clarke today (21 March 2014) hosted a roundtable meeting with professional business services to discuss the barriers to the US market that they currently face and explore the many opportunities for business that the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will bring.
The discussion, which will inform the government’s position on negotiations with the US, was held in the House of Commons, and was attended by representatives of accountancy, legal, management consultancy and financial services firms.
The discussion focused on issues such as data protection, the mutual recognition of regulations and the mutual recognition of qualifications. The minister confirmed that the British position is to push hard on all these issues, and that the government is keeping up the pressure to include Financial Services in the trade and investment deal.
A trade and investment deal between the EU and the US has the potential to be the largest bilateral trade and investment agreement in history and will bring significant economic benefits – growth, jobs, lower prices and greater choice for consumers – on both sides of the Atlantic. It could add as much as £10 billion annually to the British economy. The government hopes that a deal can be reached by 2015.
More than 3 million people are employed in the professional services sector in the UK and exports are worth more than £52 billion to the British economy. The UK currently exports around £5 billion to the US, but the potential to increase this figure makes it by far the most important export market for British professional and business services firms.
Cabinet Minister without Portfolio Ken Clarke said:
The US is the second largest destination, after the EU, for exports of UK professional business services, worth more than £5 billion. That is why it is so important to agree a trade and investment deal between the EU and the US that will help to create many more jobs for British architects, lawyers and other professionals. By consulting businesses and listening to their concerns, the government can make sure it is best placed to deliver a better deal for British businesses, employees and their families through the European Union.
Lord Livingston, Minister of State for Trade, said:
TTIP has the potential to be the biggest bilateral deal ever. Professional and business services are particularly important to the UK, demonstrated by our trade surplus in services. Greater co-operation on regulatory issues, better recognition of professional qualifications and simpler visa requirements are just some of the potential benefits of TTIP for British and US firms.
Notes for editors
1.The government’s economic policy objective is to achieve ‘strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries’. It set 4 ambitions in the ‘Plan for Growth’, published at Budget 2011:
- to create the most competitive tax system in the G20
- to make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business
- to encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy
- to create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe
Work is underway across government to achieve these ambitions, including progress on more than 250 measures as part of the Growth Review. Developing an Industrial Strategy gives new impetus to this work by providing businesses, investors and the public with more clarity about the long-term direction in which the government wants the economy to travel.
2.UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) is the government department that helps UK-based companies succeed in the global economy. We also help overseas companies bring their high quality investment to the UK’s economy – acknowledged as Europe’s best place from which to succeed in global business. UKTI offers expertise and contacts through its extensive network of specialists in the UK, and in British embassies and other diplomatic offices around the world. We provide companies with the tools they require to be competitive on the world stage. For more information on UKTI, visit www.ukti.gov.uk or visit the online newsroom at www.ukti.gov.uk/media.