Tag Archives: free trade

LibLink: Vince Cable makes the case for TTIP and free trade

Vince Cable, who was involved in negotiations over the proposed EU-US trade deal, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, in his role as business secretary, has been writing about the issue, and that of free trade more generally.

Vince first summarises the rationale for TTIP:

The European Commission has prioritised a bilateral agreement with the USA: TTIP, which is proving a source of unexpected controversy, although negotiations are still at an early stage. The underlying objective is to apply, on a transatlantic basis, the same approach that helped to create the EU Single Market. Since, as within the EU, tariffs and quotas are no longer a major issue the emphasis has been on preventing differences in standards, mainly technical, acting as a barrier to trade. There are, for example, different specifications for seatbelt design and testing that make it difficult to export in both directions. In effect, a different production line is required to sell into the USA, which can be prohibitive, especially for low volume manufacturers.

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , and | 41 Comments

The EU already gives us more than anti-Europeans are promising

Inside the EU we have better access to the European marketplace than we could ever have outside. And the clout of such a massive bloc means we strike better trade deals now than we ever could on our own.

For years anti-Europeans have churned out stories about Brussels banning schoolchildren from eating yoghurt and the Queen from appearing on our passports. More recently they latched onto immigration, with Brexiteers offering up conflicting numbers of how many millions of foreigners are on their way.

With the referendum approaching however the time has come for them to stop complaining and start explaining. What assurances can they give, for instance, to people in Swindon who earn a living building cars for Honda? How secure are their jobs going to be if trade barriers go back up?

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 2 Comments

TTIP and the NHS: Separating fact from fiction

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a proposed agreement currently being negotiated between the European Union and United States. If agreed it will make it easier for companies and individuals across all EU member states and America to trade with one another, as well as encouraging greater bilateral investment.

I wrote generally about TTIP on LDV back in July, given that it is party policy to support the agreement. However, even at that point a concerted campaign had begun linking TTIP to the supposed privatisation of the National Health Service, with union leaders, campaigning websites and politicians calling either for TTIP to be abandoned or for special safeguards to be included.

This piece, therefore, addresses that issue in some detail.

Investor State Dispute Settlement

The “investment” part of TTIP seeks to increase the amount of foreign direct investment that flows between EU member states and the US. In other words, the amount of money that is spent establishing or expanding businesses or on other projects on which a monetary return is expected.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 40 Comments

Opinion: TTIP and the inversion of the Free Trade debate

The Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership provides an interesting case study as to how the very meaning of ‘Free Trade’ is changing. The treaty itself is on the rocks with increasing opposition from France and Germany alongside a powerful combination of unions and anti-globalisation advocacy groups. Nothing about that is particularly unusual but a crucial difference is the arguments these groups are making. For the first time they are talking about consumers.

Traditionally trade deals meant hitting producers to help consumers with the abolition of tariffs, subsidies and protectionist legislation. Although there is an element of this in the TTIP the majority of it is actually about the harmonization of consumer standards and it is this which flips the traditional free trade debate so firmly on its head.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 49 Comments

TTIP — the US-EU trade deal. What is it, and where is it up to?

Container Ship tradeAt last year’s autumn conference, the Lib Dems pledged to support a new trade agreement between the European Union and the United States — known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. The motion, ‘Strengthening the UK Economy’ (pdf), called on the coalition to:

Increase trading opportunities by working in the EU to ensure that the success of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, doing everything possible to revive the World Trade Organisation led Doha Development Round and further integrating the EU services market.

Since then there has been significant …

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 28 Comments

Clegg pushes for transatlantic trade deal

Container Ship tradeWhen, just over a week ago, conference overwhelmingly backed motion F19, “Strengthening the UK Economy” (pdf), it voted for our party to lead the way on free trade, thanks to the following addition (in which I played a small role), which was “drafted into” the motion:

8. Increase trading opportunities by working in the EU to ensure that the success of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, doing everything possible to revive the World Trade Organisation led Doha Development Round and further integrating the EU services market.

The party’s leadership …

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 11 Comments

Opinion: TTIP – whose freedom will it promote?

Few things press Liberal Democrat buttons like the promise of free (or freer) trade. So, London MEP Baroness Sarah Ludford’s recent post for LDV noting that the European Parliament has just given the go-ahead for negotiations towards the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP, a.k.a. TAFTA), a free trade treaty that will be the biggest in history, was generally welcomed in comments.

But what exactly is proposed? Tariffs on both sides of the Atlantic are already low – averaging only about 4% – so the possible gains from further reductions are modest. A quick root around …

Posted in Op-eds | 11 Comments
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