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AN SME FRIENDLY AGREEMENT Reaching a conclusion in the TTIP talks between the EU and US could result in the European economy growing by a119 billion per year. Chambers Ireland is lobbying for an agreement which benefits SMEs, writes Emma Kerins, Project Officer, Chambers Ireland.


he Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is a freetrade agreement currently being negotiated between the EU and US. The agreement has three main strands; improved market access, improved regulatory coherence and improved co-operation when it comes to setting international standards. Should the trade negotiations be successfully concluded, the European economy is predicted to grow by about a119 billion per year. After several years of economic recession, economies on both sides of the Atlantic need this kind of stimulus, which will help to promote growth, create employment and encourage investment. The 8th round of the trade deal negotiations was held in Brussels from 2nd to 6th February 2015, focusing mainly on regulatory co-operation. The EU has proposed increased regulatory co-operation between the EU and the US, particularly with regard to dual inspection of pharmaceuticals and trade barriers in the agri-food sector. Chambers Ireland has been working with our European partners to lobby for a trade agreement that represents the interests of small and medium enterprises. As part of these efforts, Eurochambres led a delegation to Washington in March to discuss how a transatlantic trade deal could best benefit SMEs. The delegation comprised of 15 representatives both from the European Chamber network and from individual enterprises across the continent. The countries represented included Austria,


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The SME Trade Mission to Washington visits the US Chamber of Commerce

Belgium, Croatia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Ireland and the UK. Ireland was represented at the summit by Chambers Ireland CEO Ian Talbot. The delegation met with senior officials from the Federal Government, including the US lead negotiator on SMEs Christina Sevilla. In addition, meetings were held with US Chief Negotiator Dan Mullaney and Deputy Chief Negotiator David Weiner, the Atlantic Council, the US Chamber of Commerce and the IMF. The Irish Embassy in Washington also hosted an evening reception for the delegation. As part of the trip, the delegation had the chance to discuss with Congressman Eric Paulsen, co-leader of the TTIP Caucus, the critical role Congress has in advancing SME interests in TTIP. The delegation highlighted that the reduction of administrative burdens associated with customs procedures and the mutual recognition of certification and inspections would be crucially

important for SMEs in this trade agreement. As part of these discussions, it was noted that the transatlantic trade agreement is not about diluting standards. Instead it was about recognising that both Europe and the US had high standards that had evolved differently. The goal is to agree equivalent standards that would enable business on both side of the Atlantic to do business more easily. Overall, the TTIP mission to Washington helped strengthen the Chambers profile as key representatives for European small and medium sized companies as the trade negotiations progress. Round nine of the trade talks will be negotiated in the United States in April. Chambers Ireland will continue to work with partners such as Eurochambres and the International Chamber of Commerce to lobby for an SME friendly trade agreement so that our members are best placed to fully reap the proposed benefits of the deal.

InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

14/04/2015 14:59

InBUSINESS Q1 2015