Ireland and all EU Member States have much to gain from a successful outcome of the TTIP negotiations. In 2013 the US was Ireland’s single-largest export market for goods, consuming over a fifth of our goods exports.
The total value of Irish food and drink exports alone to the US in 2013 was $700 million. The US is also Ireland’s largest trading partner in international-traded services, which amounted to more than €30 billion in 2012.
Ireland exports 80% of everything it produces, meaning tens of thousands of Irish jobs depend on good foreign trade relationships and agreements like the TTIP.
US firms are playing a major role in Ireland’s economic progress and have invested an estimated €189 billion here since 1990. That’s more than the combined total of US investments to Brazil, Russia, India and China.
Since 2010 more that 14% of all US investment to the EU has gone to Ireland. It’s a huge figure when you consider that Ireland makes up only about one per cent of the EU population.
In the past five years alone, US investment in Ireland has increased by around 25% and employment in US multinationals here has grown to about 115,000 people in 700 companies.
There’s no doubt improved EU-US trade relationships has huge potential to benefit Ireland, and indeed all 28 EU Member States.
Independent research carried out by the London-based Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) suggests the EU's economy could benefit by €119 billion a year – that’s an extra €545 for an average EU family of four.
Achieving this boost would cost very little to taxpayers as it would come from removing tariffs, unnecessary rules and bureaucratic obstacles that currently make it difficult to trade goods and services across the Atlantic.
For example, US rules currently ban European apples and many European cheeses, even though the EU has its own strict regulations on all foods.
And European airlines aren’t allowed operate domestic flights in the US. That means if a plane flies from Dublin to Los Angeles and half the passengers get off in New York, the plane must fly half empty to LA because it’s not allowed to take on any new passengers in New York.
It’s estimated that the cost of dealing with bureaucracy can add between 10-20% to the price of goods, and some products and services can’t be traded at all because of bureaucratic red tape.
Ireland stands to benefit more than most from successful TTIP talks. Since 2010, more than 14% of all US investment to the EU has gone to Ireland. That’s a huge figure, given that we only make up about one per cent of the EU population.
In the last five years alone, US investment in Ireland has increased by around 25 per cent and employment in US multinationals here has grown to 115,000 people in 700 companies.
The pharmaceutical sector – one of Ireland’s biggest industries with nine of the top ten global pharmaceutical companies located here - is a prime example of where having common standards would increase safety while cutting costs.
Irish pharmaceutical products are already thoroughly tested here so they can be sold throughout the EU, but they have to undergo costly testing again to enter the US market, even though an aspirin bought in Cork is no less safe than one bought in New York.
The TTIP aims to eliminate expensive and time consuming double testing like this without lowering safety standards, meaning new treatments for life-threatening conditions such as cancer can enter both markets faster and at a lower price.
The Irish services sector will also benefit from the TIPP as it will help reduce or eliminate barriers and harmonise standards leading to industry growth and cheaper services.
Harmonising EU and US technical standards will not only benefit European and American businesses and consumers, it could also provide the basis for common global standards.
The size of the transatlantic market is so big that it would be in the interest of all countries to adopt them too, so they’d only have to produce goods to one set of specifications, making trade throughout the world easier and cheaper.
The TIPP could also encourage other nations to get the stalled World Trade Organisation (WTO) multilateral trade negotiations moving again and eventually lead to a new global consensus on free trade.
The TIPP will benefit SMEs as much as, if not more than, bigger multinationals. The EU and US teams have published a document detailing how smaller firms could benefit from the agreement, and how the two sides plan to help them do so.