EU-US free trade deal worth €800m

The proposed EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership free trade agreement could boost the economy by €800m per annum in increased GDP, and help create 4,000 jobs.

And one in five companies believe the proposed partnership will result in job creation at their firms, an Ibec member survey has found.

US and EU business leaders meet in Dublin Castle today, in parallel to a meeting of EU trade ministers, in an effort to advance talks towards a major new transatlantic trade deal.

The EU trade ministers meetings will be crucial in determining the likely parameters of a new partnership free trade agreement which has the potential to provide a major economic boost to both the Irish and global economies.

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton said assessments made by the EU Commission and other European bodies, a comprehensive trade and investment partnership could over time boost EU GDP by 0.5% per annum and help create some 400,000 jobs in the EU.

“Based on those assessments, if Ireland simply benefited in proportion to the size of our economy, a comprehensive trade and investment partnership could over time provide gains to Ireland in the order of €800m per annum in increased GDP, and 4,000 new jobs,” the minister said.

A new survey of Ibec members highlights the enormous benefit to jobs and investment that a trade deal could have for Ireland.

52% of companies said a deal would lead to increased trade with the US, 20% said a new trade deal would increase investment in their company and 19% of companies indicated that a deal would lead to job creation in their firm.

Of those companies that currently export to the US, over half (51%) said a deal would increase the value of these exports. 142 companies took part in the survey, large and small, from a cross-section of sectors, including companies that export and those that do not at present.

The Dublin Castle discussions are being chaired by president and CEO of the US Chamber of Commerce, Tom Donohue, and president of BusinessEurope, Jurgen Thumann, and will be attended by Minister Bruton, European Commissioner for Trade Karel De Gucht, the leaders of European business federations and senior European and Irish business figures.

Ibec chief executive Danny McCoy said: “A transatlantic trade deal has the potential to kick-start new phase of economic renewal on both sides of the Atlantic. Together the EU and US have a combined population of €800m people, almost half the world’s GDP and a third of world trade. A deal would constitute the most important bilateral trade initiative ever negotiated and, as a trading nation with strong US ties, Ireland is particularly well-placed to benefit.

“The US is already one of our key export markets, a new trade deal has the potential to significantly increase the value and volume of these exports. The potential for job creation, new investment and economic growth is enormous. Businesses would benefit from new opportunities, lower costs, a reduced regulatory burden and new public procurement opportunities. It is vital that this opportunity is seized during the Irish EU presidency.”

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