Business representative body Ibec has criticised the omission from the Programme for Government of the proposed major trade deal between the European Union and United States.
Ibec, in favour of the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), branded its omission as “a missed opportunity”.
In its analysis of the Programme for Government, the group outlines a number of positives for business in the area of trade and international affairs, including the commitment for Minister-led trade missions to continue and the development of cross-sectoral trade strategies.
The lack of any mention of TTIP draws strong criticism from Ibec trade policy experts, Pat Ivory and Kathryn O’Donovan, however.
“It is disappointing not to see a strong statement recognising the value of free trade to the Irish economy. Free trade agreements (FTAs) contribute to export growth in goods and services.
“The European Commission is currently negotiating several FTAs and the government should engage with partners at EU and international level to ensure that Ireland can benefit from the final agreements,” they said.
The deal, being negotiated by EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström with her US counterparts, has drawn criticism from a number of groups concerned over issues as diverse as food standards, investor protections and environmental concerns.
But Ibec welcomes what it refers to as “the strong commitment to safeguard Irish offensive and defensive interests” in agriculture and trade negotiations with particular focus on beef and food safety standards.
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