Cheaper cars - but TTIP dream labelled a nightmare

The cost of a new car could come down if TTIP is agreed
The cost of a new car could come down if TTIP is agreed The cost of a new car could come down if TTIP is agreed

IRELAND and Britain would both benefit most from a successful conclusion to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), figures released in Brussels yesterday predicted.

Despite a conclusion to the world’s biggest free trade deal seemingly still some way off, despite an acceleration of negotiations this week, a World Trade Institute (WTI) study revealed that the lower barriers to trading between the US and the EU which TTIP will bring will impact positively on most European states.

It said estimated export increases in the Republic and the UK alone would be 19 per cent and 17 per cent respectively, while income level increases would be up 1.3 per cent and 0.4 per cent respectively.

But it comes amid growing suspicion that not all small businesses will enjoy the fruits of a TTIP deal which is already nearly three years in the making.

For despite EU and US bureaucrats insisting there will be an uplift for all, a body representing 12 million SMEs in 24 European countries, including the Republic, has disputed that claim.

And social justice campaign group War on Want has gone as far as to call TTIP “a nightmare”.

The WTI assessment said that under TTIP Ireland, which currently exports 44 per cent of its non-EU related goods to the US, would enjoy a significant increase in the production and export of insurance services (up 4.4 per cent, or €651m) and chemicals (up 2.6 per cent or €8.2 billion)

For Irish companies the price for transport equipment would decrease by 2.1 per cent – and consumers would pay 1.1 per cent less for a car because of TTIP.

In the UK financial services, according to the WTI report, would rise by 1.3 per cent and the most significant export expansions would come in motor vehicles (up €5.2bn) and chemicals/pharmaceuticals (up €3.2bn).

The average price of a car in the UK would also come down by 1.3 per cent.

Yet how SMEs will fare under a TTIP remains a matter of major division.

War on Want, in the new report called ‘Rough Trade: The threat of TTIP to small businesses in the UK’, claims that “unfair competition” will result in the loss of at least 680,000 jobs across Europe.

Report author and charity campaigner Mark Dearn said: "TTIP offers small businesses nothing, but thousands could fold if US firms are allowed into our markets without having to abide by EU rules.

“TTIP is a bonanza for big business, but a nightmare for everyone else. The UK government needs to come clean about the damage it will do to ordinary people struggling to make a living."