TTIP. Four letters that will make a big difference to all our lives

by Callum Anderson

Last week Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, threw the gauntlet down to Nigel Farage, the leader of the eurosceptic UKIP, by challenging him to a televised debate regarding the UK’s continued membership of the European Union. As far as I am concerned, this should be welcomed by all, regardless of one’s place on the political spectrum. Any opportunity for our senior politicians to debate this subject should be seen as a positive.

Of course, Mr Farage has accepted this challenge, but with the caveat that he would also like the prime minister and the leader of the opposition also participate.

However, Ed Miliband should embrace this opportunity to establish Labour as another party of ‘in’.  As I have argued elsewhere, the UK already benefits hugely in economic terms from EU membership, yet there is still scope to further increase these benefits. And one of the (many) things that Ed Miliband, and indeed any progressive must shout loudly about in the coming years, is the opportunities that will be available to Britain through the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the European Union and the United States.

For those of you who don’t know, the TTIP is the trade agreement that is presently being negotiated between the European Union and the United States, with its aims of removing trade barriers, so that it becomes easier to buy and sell goods and services between the EU and the US. Furthermore, it will tackle non-trade barriers (NTBs) such as technical regulations, standards and approval procedures.

The Economist highlighted a year ago that trade in goods and services between EU and the United States currently amounts to nearly $1 trillion each year, and total bilateral investment between them to nearly $4 trillion. However, removing remaining tariffs could raise Europe’s GDP by around 0.4 per cent, as well as the United States’ by one percentage point.

In a report for the Department for Business Innovation and Skills in 2013, the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) found that the TTIP is estimated to yield an increase in UK national income by up to £10 billion annually, or up to £100 billion over a ten-year period, corresponding to a 0.35 per cent increase in GDP levels.

Moreover, the CEPR estimates that most of the national income gains will be caused by the lowering of NTBs in goods. Aggregate UK exports (to all countries) would rise by as much as 2.2 per cent, and, as a consequence real wages rising by 0.4 per cent. At a time when real wages have been stagnant, any opportunity to lift the living standards of Britons must not only be embraced, but highlighted and aggressively publicised by progressives and One Nation Labour.

What’s more, the CEPR predicted that it would be our automotive industry that would benefit most, raising its exports by up to 7 per cent. This would help to create the manufacturing jobs that Britain has been in desperate need for a generation.

The TTIP also represents an exciting prospect: a successfully executed US-EU free trade deal would create even more momentum for other pacts, possibly paving the way for similar agreements with emerging powers in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The potential to access these markets, all of whom are rapidly growing their middle classes, is, in fact, a reason why Britain must stay and play its part in the EU.

Do you really believe that the US would negotiate a free trade deal with Britain separately, and with similar terms. Unlikely. By being part of the EU, Britain wins.

But, ultimately of course, the TTIP represents a win-win scenario for all sides – the EU (including Britain) and the United States. That can only be a good thing. Whilst many of the Eurosceptics willfully ignore the substantial gains made possible to Britain through its membership of the EU, it is down to One Nation Labour’s progressives to actively highlight this trade deal, and its obvious benefits to the UK economy, to the public. Because, whilst perhaps not as ‘sexy’ as issues such as immigration and judicial issues, trade, and Britain’s use of it, will determine whether we can become more prosperous in the twenty-first century.

Callum Anderson currently works at the Community Development Foundation

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4 Responses to “TTIP. Four letters that will make a big difference to all our lives”

  1. The Judge says:

    It is indicatative of how far the ‘official’ ‘left’ in Britain has not only jumped the shark but pole-vaulted it that anyone who could call themselves ‘progressive’ without blushing for shame at the lie could possibly write such a nonsense.

    TTIP – like the closely linked ‘Transpacific Partnership’ (TPP) has very little to do with reducing trade tariffs between the US and Europe. Those tariffs are already so low as to scarcely require a huge new treaty to reduce them still further.

    What TTIP – negotiated entirely in secret, and the details of which will only be made accessible to us little folk after it has already been adopted – is intended to do is to enshrine in transnational law a ‘race to the bottom’ in terms of regulation and control of business (be that regulation connected to environmental or human-rights issues or, indeed, anything else). Furthermore, it would set in concrete a system of governance in which corporations would be able to block or even overturn decisions taken by democratically-elected governments if – in the opinion of the corporations alone – such decisions would harm their ‘bottom line’.

    This means that any democracy which dared to seek to control even the most egregious actions of corporate entities would face being dragged before an ‘arbitration panel’ staffed entirely by place-persons from the corporate world and sued into oblivion.

    TTIP is the enemy of human and environmental rights and an abuse of process to undermine even the limited measure of democracy and corporate accountability we have now. That it should be praised to the skies on a supposedly ‘left-leaning’ website is emetic, to say the least.

    For more, see

  2. Iain Crawford says:

    This article should have come with a health warning. This site should be renamed “Labour Unhinged” for publishing such an uncritical article about TTIP

    TTIP is the one of the biggest threats to democracy many of us will ever see.
    It is being negotiated mainly in secret by un-elected officials with the deliberate intention of making national sovereignty and law subservient to the “right” of large international corporations to make a profit. By allowing those tax dodging corporations to sue governments in the quest to make even more money.
    Health and safety cutting into your margins – no problem just sue the government. Want to take over parts of the NHS and the electorate don’t want you to – Sue the government. Of course to be fair the governments can appeal – but only to corporate lawyers whose sole brief is to determine inf the Corporations are suffering a loss of profit because of the Law or government regulations. It is a neo-liberal’s wet-dream and it is coming real soon if we do not move to
    Andy Burnham is going to Brussels to try to protect the NHS from it.

    Ed Milliband should make it clear that he will have nothing to with it.

  3. Danny says:


    TTIP a win-win?

    Uncut publish some utter twaddle (see anything by Julian Ruck, Atul Hatwal, Renie Anjeh for numerous examples) but this article has not only taken the biscuit, but commandeered the entire McVities factory.

    TTIP is an appalling idea that will emasculate governments and people power and place all economic influence into the hands of an unaccountable, profit-driven, greedy few.

    Is that what you price democracy at Callum? £10 billion a year?

  4. Pete says:

    I agree with Danny ^

    The TTIP makes the EU policies look tame in comparison and will allow huge American corporations to have influence in our country even easier. I have heard that American business have expressed interest in our NHS and this will give them the green light.

    If you want to learn how big business (especially American big business) has destroyed countries read the book: ‘Confessions of an Economic Hit Man is a book written by John Perkins.’ That will give you a picture of what the TTIP will do to our country.

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