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Voice of Business | Committed to a trade agreement with the US


Peter Thagesen (twitter: @peterthagesen, di.dk) is the director of international market policy at DI, the strong voice of corporate Denmark, representing more than 10,000 member companies. A former diplomat at the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Peter, who has a master’s in economics, writes about international policy seen from a Danish business perspective

August 17, 2014
19:00

by Peter Thagesen


On july 14, EU and US negotiators completed the sixth round of the trade talks on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The aim is to make EU-US trade and investment easier and to boost economic growth.

TTIP talks stalling
Unfortunately, the talks have progressed at a somewhat slower pace lately, in part because the negotiations have fuelled a strong public debate, especially in Europe.

Amid this important debate, it is vital not to lose sight of the bigger picture: an astonishingly bold project that aims to create a free market encompassing the 800 million people of Europe and America, potentially increasing our collective GDP by 225 billion euros.

Consider the effect the TTIP will have on the Danish economy alone. According to the EU Commission, we could see our exports to the US grow by as much as 28 percent, creating new jobs and business opportunities.

Perhaps most importantly in the long-term, such a deal would safeguard the liberal trading rules that we Danes depend on as a small, export-driven economy.

September 29 could prove to be an important day for transatlantic trade (Photo: Colourbox)

A shared interest
In the global marketplace, Danish workers and employers share the same interest. This is why the Confederation of Danish Industry and the Danish Union of Metalworkers recently voiced joint support for the TTIP in the Financial Times.

Indeed, the creation of a common EU-US free trade area will benefit companies and employees alike. Moreover, with the EU and the US facing the global challenge of world economic centres shifting away from the transatlantic area, a comprehensive and ambitious EU-US agreement will also protect the high environmental and consumer standards, legal protection and labour rights of the area.

The time is now
From a Danish perspective then, it seems rather surprising that business and labour organisations in several European countries have yet to arrive at a common understanding of the TTIP.

With the seventh round of negotiations set to begin on September 29, the time is now to take the next step forward to create a state-of-the-art international trade agreement as a model for future agreements to come. It is an opportunity we cannot afford to miss.



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