By Andrew Staines, First Secretary for Trade & Business Policy in the British Embassy to the US in Washington DC
“We need more jobs and growth.”
That was something I consistently heard when I was in Atlanta recently for the annual Europe Day celebration luncheon sponsored by the World Affairs Council of Atlanta. I also met with leaders of the Metro Atlanta Chamber and a range of other officials across academia and business. I was impressed by the Metro Chamber and its large and internationally engaged membership. They have a strong commitment to building Atlanta’s presence on the world stage, so I look forward to Georgia’s business interests staying active in global trade issues—especially the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
TTIP is a once in a generation opportunity to eliminate trade tariffs, regulatory barriers and red tape across huge volumes of transatlantic trade, and the Europe Day luncheon focused on this critically important topic. Fostering key trade relationships and global growth is one of the most important tools we can use to create new jobs by strengthening local, national and global economies. Formal negotiations are scheduled to launch in time for our mid-June G8 Summit in Loch Erne, Northern Ireland.
As Prime Minister David Cameron recently said in Washington DC, this deal is worth the effort.
For example, the US and the EU both have large auto manufacturing industries. Automobile safety is of paramount importance in both markets – yet we currently have different safety approval procedures causing new vehicles to be tested twice. We should consider how we can recognize safety testing in each other’s markets, cutting costs whilst not compromising safety.
This is why the EU and the US must lead from the front. An ambitious and comprehensive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership could bring economic gains of over $120 billion on each side of the Atlantic once the agreement is fully implemented. The EU and the US account for about half of global economic output and the proposed agreement is an important opportunity to establish Twenty First Century trade rules.
Georgia alone exported $1.1 billion to the United Kingdom in 2012, up from $988 million in 2011. The UK stands as the second largest investor in Georgia, creating nearly 25,000 jobs in the state. Georgia has benefited from the investment of some of the UK’s largest brands, hosting Americas headquarters and significant operations for British companies, such as Triumph Motorcycles, JC Bamford, InterContinental Hotels Group, and Lexis-Nexis. The UK is the largest European market and the sixth largest in the world for Georgia exports. Similarly many Georgia companies have discovered the UK and the EU to be great export markets for both goods and services, including UPS, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Crawford & Co., Equifax, Georgia-Pacific, Global Payments, NCR and many others.
If TTIP is going to happen, business will need to play a key role. Her Majesty’s Consul General in Atlanta Annabelle Malins sums it up well: “The southeast United States can gain a great deal from the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership’s job-creation potential. However, for these negotiations to succeed, decision-makers in Washington will need to hear from their constituents. They will want to know which tariffs to cut and where the EU’s and US’ rules and regulations need to be as compatible as possible. If an agreement is to be finished within two years, time is of the essence.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Andrew Staines is the First Secretary for Trade & Business Policy in the British Embassy to the US in Washington DC where he leads amongst other things on the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP, the EU-US FTA). Andrew is also the Trade Counsellor to the UK Mission to the World Trade Organisation in Geneva, Switzerland. Andrew joined the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) in 2008. Prior to joining the FCO, Andrew worked as a senior executive covering corporate finance in Anglo American plc, the global mining business; as a specialist adviser to the Treasury Select Committee at the British House of Commons; and as a Corporate Finance Manager for Deloitte in the UK and Australia.