TTIP ‘cheerleader’ arrives in town |

TTIP ‘cheerleader’ arrives in town

Ilustrační foto
Ilustrační foto
ZDROJ: Daniel Ramirez via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Jan Stuchlík

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Get more active in public discussions on the planned EU/US trade agreement, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP): that was the message to Czech ministers delivered in Prague by European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström. The Czech capital was the fifth stop on her tour of EU countries undertaken to explain what exactly the European bloc and Washington have been negotiating.

“We aim to cut tariffs in mutual trade. For example, a Czech manufacturer of lighting installations is currently asked to pay an import tariff of 28 percent. That is a lot of money and it makes such products expensive in the US,” said the commissioner, referring to one of the key treaty constituents. Other aspects of the proposed TTIP include better access to public orders in the US and two-way
recognition of certifications and standards in areas where the regulations of the EU and US are in pursuit of the same goals. “This particular collaboration will take place only in areas where the European and US standards are of equal strength, with perhaps only minor differences. The treaty will not affect European standards applicable to health or environmental protection or working conditions,” Malmström added, refuting some fears expressed by treaty opponents.

Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka gave assurances that closer trade links with the US would generate jobs and business orders for Czech companies. The government has commissioned a study to provide specific numbers when it comes to the treaty’s mpacts. “The modelling operates according to three scenarios: a minimalistic treaty extent, one in which the EU succeeds in negotiating everything member states have included in the European Commission’s negotiation mandate, and a scenario in which no deal is struck. The EU would come a cropper if the last scenario materialised,” said Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Vladimír Bärtl.

“It is important to pull down non-tariff barriers that exist in mutual trade as they complicate matters primarily for small and medium sized businesses. It is therefore essential to listen to businesses that have been involved in trading with the US directly or indirectly,” added Josef Bič, a researcher at the Faculty of International Relations at the University of Economics in Prague [VŠE]. Bič has contributed to Czech government recommendations accepted by the National Convention on the European Union.

Czech businesspeople have already identified industries the TTIP would clearly boost, including medical equipment, engineering, measuring technology and aviation. The treaty would also benefit the domestic automotive industry and industries linked to it. If the TTIP is approved, Czech manufacturers of public transport safety technologies might also find they have a new market across
the big pond.

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