The Transatlantic trade and investment partnership TTIP

The EC chose not to honour its commitment under GATT 1994 to phase out all its customs preference agreements within five years. Instead it has made new agreements, mostly with many of the world's poorer countries, which have enabled export of EC goods at low or even zero import charges to countries which have had little to sell to us and would have been obstructed by non-tariff barriers anyway. An obvious result is that many of the world's trading nations have tried to protect themselves by forming trading blocs with tariff barriers against non-members. The Export Guide lists nearly forty such recently-formed blocs but the list is not complete. To protect itself the USA has started to play the game, and in particular has formed the North American Free Trade Area NAFTA of the USA, Canada and Mexico. The Brussels Commission has for some time sought to negotiate a free-trade pact with NAFTA which would have been the biggest free-trade association in the world. They have made the derisory claim that it would eventually increase the EC's GDP by 0.5%!   Whether or not the pact was ever likely to happen, recent events have dealt the project a serious blow.

The electors of Holland have collected 100,000 signatures so far calling for a referendum on the proposed pact. Greenpeace has acquired and leaked 248 pages of negotiation papers at the beginning of June. Careful study of the papers, on the Greenpeace website, is worrying. Greenpeace claims that they show "a race to the bottom in environmental, consumer protection and public health standards" and although not everybody would go so far the papers do raise serious questions about the Commission's conduct. The French President Hollande's Socialist Party has reacted strongly and forced him to deny further support for the pact. He has said: "We don't want unbridled free trade. We will never accept that basic principles are threatened". In Germany only 17% of those asked in a recent poll support the negotiations and barely half even accepted that free trade is itself a good thing, a strange finding in a country where exports are so important.

The Tate Group

Our a range of products and services is design help exporters and importers operate effectively within the complex world of International Trade. We assist companies by providing essential skills and knowledge in trade procedures, enabling employees to handle export orders and international product procurement successfully. Our workshops, trade reference, documentation and software applications form a unique suite of 'tried and tested' services. We are associate members of the Institute of Export and British International Freight Association.