What is TTIP?
TTIP is the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. It's currently being negotiated between the European Union and the United States. In short, it's a massive free trade deal between the US and the 28 EU Member States. Talks between the two sides opened in June 2013 and are ongoing.
Why does it matter to Wales?
There are almost 300 US companies investing in Wales, making it by a large margin the largest single country investor, employing around 50,000 people. The value of Welsh exports to the USA is around £3bn - an increase of 400 per cent in the last 15 years. TTIP has the potential to significantly boost trade and investment in both directions. The UK government says it could be worth £1.5bn to the Welsh economy, and give companies access to a marketplace of 300 million US consumers. This is good for jobs and prosperity in Wales.
The United States and the UK are each other’s largest foreign investors. This investment supports approximately one million jobs in each country. In 2012, for example, around 17% of all British exports went to the US. TTIP could add as much as £10bn annually to the UK economy in the long term. It could also add £100bn a year to the EU economy and £80bn for the US.
The Myths about TTIP
TTIP will only benefit the big corporations.
TTIP will directly benefit consumers. It will widen the range of products available, giving consumers more choice. It will also reduce trade costs, leading to cheaper goods. The average benefit for a family of four is estimated at around £400 per year. TTIP will directly benefit small businesses. They will find it easier to export, a direct consequence of TTIP reducing duplication and red tape, but without compromising safety standards. TTIP will benefit Wales by creating more jobs. Wales stands to gain an estimated £1,500m in the energy and advanced manufacturing sectors, which translates into more jobs and more growth.
TTIP opens the door to privatisation of the NHS.
TTIP will not change the way that the NHS, or other public services, is run. Access to NHS services will continue to be based on patients’ needs, not ability to pay. Local NHS commissioners will remain in charge of deciding who should provide services in the best interests of patients. The European Commission is following our approach, that it must always be for the UK to decide for itself whether or not to open up our public services to competition. The European Commission is doing deals in secret. We need to remember that this is a negotiation, and making our position available publicly will jeopardise our chances of getting the best deal for the EU. The Commission has consulted publicly on its negotiating priorities and investment protection, is holding regular meetings with the public and has recently published the legal texts on many chapters of TTIP and new position papers, which give detailed information about the negotiations. It is holding one of the most transparent negotiations it has ever done.
UK sovereignty will be threatened by a deal on TTIP. Big corporations will be able to use investment protection provisions to overturn UK laws.
The EU has made it clear that the freedom of national governments to regulate would be explicitly protected. The Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions being discussed cannot overturn laws. Their purpose is to protect our investors from discriminatory treatment by protectionist governments, whilst safeguarding the Government’s freedom to make laws and regulations in the public interest. The UK already has over 90 bilateral investment agreements in place, the majority of which include similar provisions, and has never lost a case. The Commission recognises that there are public concerns about this and has carried out a public consultation to inform its position.
Please find below some links to recent information sources regarding TTIP and its progress in the European Parliament.
http://www.ttipunpacked.org/ - UK Conservatives’ TTIP website
http://ec.europa..eu/trade/policy/in-focus/ttip/ - European Commission website