International

Think tank demands that government stall TTIP talks amid small business concerns

Fred Heritage | 2 June 2016 | 8 years ago

TTIP
The US and the EU have been in negotiations about TTIP since 2013
The majority of small business owners are concerned about the implications of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) for their firm.

Many wish for a major re-examining of the UK’s approach to negotiations with the US over the terms of the proposed new trade deal.

According to the results of a report published by Midlands-based small business think tank Business Growth Foundation (BGF), only a quarter of owners believe that TTIP will benefit Britain’s community of smaller firms. Just 14 per cent feel it will benefit their own business in particular.

BGF chief executive Iain Hasdell said that the findings of the report, which surveyed over 1, 000 small firm leaders, should serve as a reality check to pro-TTIP politicians in Westminster and other business membership bodies.

almost half of smaller business owners feel TTIP is being framed to help large, non-SME companies. This new trade deal is not by definition good for UK SMEs, but it can be if the terms are and if it gains the endorsement of small business. Our research illustrates how very far away we are from that right now, said Hasdell.

Indicating a serious lack of knowledge and available information about TTIP amongst small company owners, 51 per cent of respondents asked for more detail from the government about the political and economic implications of TTIP, with two-thirds saying that they felt uninformed.

BGF has called on the government to commission an independent sector-by-sector assessment of the TTIP proposals for UK small businesses, and has advocated a government-backed debate with SMEs about the details. It is then hoped the government would take the findings of the assessment into negotiations about the trade deal.

Commenting further, BGF chair Ninder Johal said that TTIP negotiations should be halted immediately until the interests of small businesses are met. He said: Any deal that does not benefit a business sector which is so fundamental to the UK economy is the wrong deal. When looking at TTIP in detail, most sectors that are set to benefit are not ones that small businesses are active in.

calling for an immediate freeze and renegotiation is just the start, we want to work with the sector and its affiliated organisations to bridge the fundamental gap in knowledge and engagement with TTIP.

First tabled by president Barack Obama in 2013, TTIP is the most recently proposed trade agreement between the EU and the US, aiming to further promote free trade and multilateral growth by improving market access and limiting cross-border tariffs and regulation.

According to the European Commission, TTIP would add 120bn and 90bn to the economies of the EU and the US respectively, yet opponents of the proposals in the UK have claimed it would jeopardise state control of key public services and leave the country open to being sued by foreign countries.

TTIP has been the subject of increasing scrutiny since the European Parliament put plans to implement it on hold, and put further limitations of how much of the plan could be made public, in 2015.

Do you know how the new personal data transfer measures set out in the EU-US Privacy Shield will affect your business? Find out here.

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