09 Jun 2015

DIGITALEUROPE Statement - TTIP, a 21st century trade partnership

DIGITALEUROPE Statement - TTIP, a 21st century trade partnership

DIGITALEUROPE urges the European Parliament to follow the lead given them by G7 leaders and their own experts, and to support the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) at their plenary meeting this week.

G7 leaders vowed to push ahead and conclude the TTIP talks by the end of this year. At the end of last month the European Parliament’s trade committee, known by the acronym INTA, gave its support to a deal with the US.

The TTIP promises to boost the EU economy by up to €119 billion a year and create much needed jobs. Failure to seize the concrete benefits to be gained from freer transatlantic trade would be to sell European citizens and companies short.

The highest price for failure would be paid by Europe’s small and medium size enterprises, which face a wide range of obstacles, mostly red tape, restricting their ability to access the US market.

“The need for easier trade and investment between the world’s two biggest trading blocks has never been greater. The TTIP will not only set the standard for 21st century trade agreements in the digital age, it will also send a clear signal to other trading partners by illustrating the economic benefits of free trade,” said John Higgins, Director General of DIGITALEUROPE.

In the field of digital technologies, TTIP will help Europe to achieve some of the aims identified in the Digital Single Market (DSM) strategy unveiled last month by the European Commission.

Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) like the TTIP offer Europe a way to spread the thinking of its flagship policy initiative beyond Europe’s borders. “The focus in the DSM on free data flows, for example, should be in the bedrock of all 21st century FTAs. Safeguarding free data flows in the TTIP will help instill a more open data culture worldwide, and would broaden the commercial horizons of Europe’s businesses,” said Mr Higgins.

Creating a strong and competitive European digital sector in a fully functioning digital single market is a key priority for all European institutions. Trade policy is an essential pillar to support this objective.

Worldwide cross-border online traffic grew 18-fold between 2005 and 2012, and could increase a further eightfold by 2025. Cross-border e-commerce has grown to represent more than 10 percent of the trade in goods in less than a decade. European SMEs and startups are tapping into new markets around the world via the Internet. Access to those markets must remain open if Europe’s entrepreneurs are to flourish. Free trade, including free flows of data, is a prerequisite for keeping those markets open.

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