EU-US Trade Deal Could Boost North West Economy
Region’s Quarterly Exports to US Valued at £707 Million
A trade agreement between the U.S. and the EU could deliver a major boost to the North West economy, according to the Prime Minister’s trade envoy, Kenneth Clarke.
A successful deal would break down barriers to trade between the economies of the European Union and the United States, save exporters millions of pounds, generate new jobs, and create a massive new marketplace representing 47% of the world’s output.
Negotiations are expected to begin this summer, and President Obama has said he hopes to conclude a deal within two years.
Mr Clarke’s comments come as new figures published by HM Revenue and Customs which showed total exports out of the region came to approximately £5.9bn in quarter one of 2013. The deal could potentially bring in a 1.3% increase to UK exports, which would be worth approximately £19bn.
Mr Clarke today hosted a meeting of small businesses from around the country to hear directly from them what barriers they would like the trade deal to tear down. He said:
“The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to boost the economies on both sides of the Atlantic by billions of pounds. This is manna from heaven for western economies looking for opportunities to stimulate growth.
“It is also the sort of world-defining reform that we, in the UK, could only ever lead from within the EU. The Prime Minister has been banging the drum from inside the EU to ensure that this agreement is the best it can be for Britain. Outside the EU we would be reduced to watching from the sidelines.
“The opportunities presented by this agreement for the North West could be extremely significant. As today’s figures show, exports to the US were worth £706 million to the North West between January and March.
“I want to make sure all businesses benefit to the greatest possible extent, which is why I have spent this morning hearing what barriers they face in exporting to the US, and how we can ensure this trade deal tears them down.”
One company that is benefiting from trade with the US is MPP Global Solutions, the leading provider of Customer Relationship Management, eCommerce and payment solutions to the media and entertainment sectors.
MPP employs 30 staff at its Warrington premises, started up in 2000 and for the last two years has been working with UKTI to increase its export potential.
MPP has now opened an office in New York with three staff, and already has contracts with two major and well-known media companies – one in television and one in publishing.
CEO Paul Johnson said:
“MPP Global Solutions is very focused on the media and entertainment sectors and New York seemed an obvious choice for us. We are situated on West 28 Street, close to the world’s largest media giants such as HBO, News Corp and Conde Nast, and we already have two significant contracts.
“I expect business in America to develop significantly in the future and we are already looking at recruiting a fourth member of staff. The USA holds great potential for our business and I am sure the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership will bring great opportunities for UK businesses.”
David Caro, EU and International Affairs Committee Chairman for the Federation of Small Businesses added:
“The FSB is a great believer in free trade and welcomes the start of negotiations for the biggest trade agreement ever between the European Union and the United States. The USA is the second destination for our exporting members and there is an appetite to trade much more with America.
There are some issues facing small firms when exporting to the USA, such as tax differences. We look forward to advising the Commission on these issues to make sure the agreement works for small exporters.”