News story

Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP): benefits and concerns

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Top things to know about the free trade agreement currently under negotiation between the EU and the USA.

What is TTIP?

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a free trade agreement currently under negotiation between the EU and the USA.

The EU and USA account for almost half of world GDP and one third of global trade flows. As much as £1.6 billion of goods and services are traded between the USA and Europe every day. The USA is the largest export market for British goods and services outside the EU.

A successful and ambitious TTIP could boost the UK economy by as much as £10 billion, and benefit the EU economy by up to £100 billion.

Aims of TTIP

Our aim is to:

  • reduce the cost of meeting different regulations and standards by promoting greater compatibility between the EU and the USA
  • create a more integrated transatlantic marketplace which maintains our high levels of health, safety and environmental protection
  • bring real benefits to consumers, including more choice, cheaper goods and increased job opportunities

An ambitious TTIP agreement builds on the close EU-US relationship, and demonstrates our clear leadership on the trade agenda. It also provides an opportunity for the EU and US to establish 21st century trade rules and to help secure the transatlantic community’s position as the centre of gravity in the global economy.

Benefits of TTIP

TTIP will make it easier for businesses in the EU to access a market of more than 300 million American consumers. In particular, small businesses will find it easier to export because of:

  • reduced regulatory differences
  • lower trade tariffs
  • smoother customs processes
  • access to US public procurement markets

TTIP will benefit the consumer by widening the range of products available. It will also reduce trade costs, leading to cheaper goods, and increase job opportunities and wages. The average household could benefit by up to £400 a year.

TTIP will reduce remaining trade tariffs on nearly all trade. EU tariffs are currently 10% on certain cars, over 20% on some food and drink products (for example, orange juice, tuna and mackerel), with further savings possible on clothing (for example, 12% tariff on jeans) and consumer electronics (for example, 14% on LCD TVs).

Concerns

TTIP will not change the fact that it is up to UK governments to decide how UK public services, including the NHS, are run. The decision about who provides NHS services will remain firmly with local NHS commissioners.

TTIP will not threaten UK sovereignty. The EU has made it clear that the freedom of governments to regulate in the public interest will be explicitly protected. The Investor-State Dispute Settlement clauses being discussed will not prevent countries taking regulatory action to protect the public or the environment, nor will they overturn or force changes to law.

TTIP will not limit the UK and EU’s right to set and regulate on protection for workers.

TTIP will not lower our food standards. It will be easier for food producers on either side to export, but only if they conform to each side’s rules on food standards and genetically modified crops.

TTIP will not decrease environmental standards and targets which we have in place or hold back action on climate change. Our commitments are not under negotiation in TTIP.

TTIP will not prevent either side from introducing new environmental and low carbon legislation.

TTIP will not undermine the protection of personal data. EU rules on personal data protection are not under negotiation in TTIP.